Report No. 247
Scheme of Sections 41-48 - Unfair and Unjust to Christian Mother. To bring to focus the issue of the present study; How Sections 41 to 48 (Sections 42 to 46 to be more specific) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 are unfair to the interest of Christian Women and what changes in this regard could be suggested' a closer look at the provisions of Part V is needed. It is with this part of the Act begins the provisions actually dealing with the order of intestate succession. Part-V does not apply to any intestacy occurring before the 1st January, 1866, or to the property of any Hindu, Mohammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina.
Chapter I (Sections 29 & 30) of this part of the Act is preliminary while Chapter II (Sections 31 to 49) deals with 'Rules in cases of Intestates other than Parsis' and Chapter III (Sections 50-56) contains special rules for Parsis intestates.
It is Chapter II dealing with rules in cases of intestate other than Parsis that forms the primary concern of the present report. Chapter II of part-V of the Act has been divided into three sub-parts. Sections 31 to 35 forming a sub-part provide rules in cases of intestate other than Parsis, while Sections 36 to 40 forming another sub-part deal with 'rules regarding distribution where there are lineal descendants' of the intestate. Another sub-part of this Chapter of the Act 'running from Sections 41 to 49 provides rules regarding distribution where there 'are no lineal descendants' of the intestate.
It is in context of provisions contained in Sections 41 to 49 it has been contended that these provisions are unfair towards Christian Women. The concern has been raised by many including number of Christian organizations. A number of memorandums and representations expressing their concerns were addressed to the Government and to the Union Law Minister at different times in the past few years. In turn the Ministry of Law & Justice referred these representations to the Law Commission for its suggestions.
The Commission thus undertook study on the subject sometime in the year 2012. In this interim and recently one of former Consultants formerly engaged by the Commission, Shri Kanda Rao, Advocate, A.P. High Court circulated a document on the subject with a copy marked to the Commission. The Commission felt that keeping in view the background and importance of the subject it needs to give serious thoughts to the subject and prepare a short report. Thus finally the present report is submitted to Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India, for its consideration.