Married daughter entitled to inherit parental property: SC

The Supreme Court has set a new precedent allowing a married daughter to inherit mother’s property.

A three-member full bench of the Supreme Court has upheld its division bench’s verdict that a married daughter was the nearest relative of the deceased mother in granting inheritance right compared to a step son.

This was stated in a full text of the apex court’s verdict passed on 19 December 2019.
The verdict was delivered by a full bench of justices Sapana Pradhan Malla, Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Hari Prasad Phuyal in response to a case filed by Narayan Prasad Tharu, a resident of Rupauliya VDC-4, Nawalparasi, against Harendra Kumar Chaudhary, a resident of the same VDC.

Harendra Kumar Chaudhary had claimed that her mother, Indra Kumari Devi Chaudhary was the only child of his grandmother, Saguni Tharu and she was the claimant for the property of his grandmother, Saguni Tharu, owned jointly with her step son, Narayan Prasad Tharu. Saguni died on 28 December 2006.
Saguni owned 12 land plots jointly with her step son Narayan Prasad Tharu. The court ruled that partition of the property and inheritance were two different issues.

While property could be equally divided between coparceners, inheritance right could even go to somebody who is not a coparcener but who had taken care of the owner prior to his/her death.
The SC said only blood relation can serve as the ground for determining next of kin and as Indra Kumari Devi Chaudhary was born to Saguni’s, she was her mother’s closest relative rather than Saguni’s step son Narayan Prasad Tharu.

The court ruled that marital status of Indra Kumari Devi Chaudhary cannot disqualify her from inheriting her mother’s share of property.

The court observed that 11th amendment of the General Code had accepted married daughter as a beneficiary for the purpose of inheritance.
The court observed that the constitution and laws prohibited discrimination on grounds of marriage.

Narayan Prasad Tharu had argued that he had transferred Saguni’s share of property in his name after her death as he was the sole beneficiary of his step mother’s property. He had argued that Indra Kumari Devi Chaudhary did not qualify for inheriting her mother’s property as she was a married daughter of the deceased.

Narayan Prasad Tharu had also argued that Indra Kumari Devi Chaudhary did not qualify for inheritance as she was not among the qualified relatives mentioned in inheritance chapter of General Code for the purpose of inheritance.

He had also argued that Indra Kumari Devi Chaudhary did not accomplish any legal duty after her mother’s death.


source: the himalayan times, 12 June 2020

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