“Socio-legal aspects of Women Coparcenary Rights through Judicial Pronouncements”- By Yashika Soni
A woman's identity is shadowed by her husband’s in her natal household, and she is automatically prepared to be shipped off once married. The discriminatory treatment of women, which is sometimes oblivious to the constitutional ideals of social fairness, is an echo of such indoctrination in Indian families and is mirrored in personal laws. It necessitates uniformity in treatment as well as the development of a legal system that may cut through the maze of personal laws without jeopardising religious activities.
Js. A. Mishra's recent SC decision in Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma put to rest inconsistencies in the interpretation of the 2005 Amendment to the Act of 1956. When the father was living on the day the amendment came into effect, the issue of coparcenary rights for daughters arose. The revolutionary enactment establishes a daughter's coparcenary rights from the moment of her birth. As a result, even though the legislation took effect on a certain day, it is retroactive since it is tied to the daughter's birth date.
The court's rationale demonstrates some judicial activism, as it reiterates that the Act does not discriminate between sons and daughters because both of their property rights are derived from their dates of birth. It was also decided that the legislative fiction of division produced by the proviso to Sec. 6 of the pre-amendment Act was solely intended to determine the dead coparcener's portion.
Reasons for sending the matter to a larger bench:
Contrarian interpretations in Prakash v. Phulavat, Mangammal v. TB Raju, and Danamma@Suman Surpur v. Amar necessitated a referral to the three-judge panel. In Prakash, the Division Bench concluded that Section 6 did not apply retroactively and that it only applied when both the coparcener and his daughter were alive on the day the 2005 amendment took effect, i.e. on September 9, 2005. It contended that there was no specific provision for granting retrospective effect, and that the scheme of the relevant statute did not reveal the requisite intent.
Mangammal followed a similar path of thought. In Danamma, on the other hand, the Court decided that the revised terms of Section 6 gave the daughter to have full rights as a coparcener. A divide in the coparcenary property might be claimed by any coparcener, even a daughter. The court, on the other hand, ruled that Sec. 6 had a prospective applicability. Under the Amendment Act of 2005, the daughter was considered as a coparcener, but not because she was born before the amendment. In its decision, the three-judge bench rejected both verdicts (Danamma partly overruled). Legal academics and even the Law Commission of India have addressed the matter in their 174th, 204th, and 208th Reports. What has to be recognised is that the Hindu coparcenary has numerous key characteristics, including the fact that a deceased member's interest survives his death and unites with the coparcenary property. The interest would have already survived and merged into the coparcenary property if the father or any other coparcener died before the Amendment Act of 2005. As a result, the daughter succeeds in the interest of the coparcenary property, according to the interpretation of Sec. 6.