Along with being applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is also applicable to anyone who converts into Hinduism. The Act only governs cases where no will as to how the property is to be distributed is there, i.e. it governs intestate succession only.
Classification of property
Property may be classified as ancestral or self-acquired. Ancestral property is that property that is inherited up to four generations of male lineage without any division. A right to a share in it is acquired by birth. Self-acquired property is one that has been bought by a person using his/ her own resources, or through any property acquired from their share in the ancestral property. This property may be distributed in any way the Hindu father wishes, for he has full discretion in reference to it.
A person who dies without a will is known as intestate. There are 4 categories to which property may be devolved on the death of an intestate.
1. Class I
2. Class II
3. Agnates, i.e. people related through blood or adoption through the male side
4. Cognates, i.e. people related through blood or adoption but not wholaly through the male side.
Section 10 of the Hindu Succession Act states that the distribution of property takes place among all living heirs, and that includes the deceased’s widow as well. She is entitled to an equal share of her husband’s property like other heirs and if there are no sharers, she is entitled to inherit all the property of her deceased husband.
In cases of divorce, issues related to maintenance and alimony are settled as the case proceeds only. Divorce settles issues once and from all and is proof that both do not owe anything to each other and are free from the bond. Therefore, in case of the death of her divorced ex-husband, the wife is not entitled to any part of the property if he was intestate.
What if no divorce has been given, i.e. the husband married a second time without divorcing his first wife? In this case, the second marriage shall be deemed to be void, and the wife from the second marriage shall not be entitled to any property. The rights of the wife from the first marriage shall remain intact. However, children from the second marriage will be entitled to get a share in the property along with other legal heirs.Choose the correct statement:
I. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is only applicable on individuals who are born Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs by birth.
II. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 can be applicable on Muslims women even if she was earlier a Hindu.
a. Only I
b. Only II
c. Both I and II
d. None of the above
2. Which of the following statement can be attributed to the above paragraph?
a. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is not applicable on self acquired property.
b. Cognates are preferred over Agnates during the time of property distribution.
c. A widow does not have right over her deceased husband’s property.
d. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is gender biased.
3. X, a Hindu male, married Y, a Hindu female. After few years of marriage, they got divorced and Y left her husband’s home with their kids. Will Y get share in X’s property if he dies intestate?
a. Yes, because she being a widow will have a right in X’s property.
b. Yes, because she is entitled to maintenance after divorce which is to be settled from X’s property.
c. No, because after divorce she cannot have any right in her ex-husband’s property.
d. Yes, because she still has kids with her.
4. X, a Hindu male, made a will for the distribution of his ancestral property. Later, he revoked his will, and made another will. Further, before dying he also revoked the second will. Decide the correct answer?
a. Second ‘will’ will prevail since first has been revoked.
b. First ‘will’ will prevail since second has been revoked.
c. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 will prevail over ‘will’ since both ‘will’ have been revoked.
d. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 will not be applicable once the will has been made.
5. X, a Hindu male married Y, a female Hindu. Later, X married Z, a Hindu female without divorcing Y. On the day when Z gave birth to X’s baby, X died in road accident. Choose the correct answer?
a. Y and Z along with her baby will be entitled to X’s property.
b. Neither Z nor her baby will be entitled to X’s property.
c. Only Y will get X’s property.
d. Only Y and Z’s baby will be entitled to X’s property.