An ancestral property in general terms is a property or land that belonged to one’s ancestors. The Supreme Court (SC) has held that daughters who were born before the decree of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 are entitled to equal property rights as a son in ancestral property.
According to the Hindu law, properties can be classified into two
1) Joint-family property or coparcenary property; and
(2) Separate property or self-acquired property.
Joint-family property or Coparcenary property:
Joint-family property or coparcenary property signifies the property in which all the coparceners have the community of interest and unity of possession. Such property consists of—
(a) Ancestral property;
(b) Property jointly obtained by the members of the joint family;
(c) Separate property of a member;
(d) Property obtained by all or any of the coparcener with the aid of joint family funds.
Lists of the fundamental facts regarding the rights to secure a share in an ancestral property:
What is an ancestral property?
Legal terms, property rights over an ancestral property are the one which is inherited up to 4 generations of male ancestors. The property rights in an ancestral property accrue by birth itself, unlike other forms of inheritance, where legacy begins upon the death of the owner.
The property rights of father and son in an inherited property
A father (current owner of the ancestral property or land) and his son have equal ownership of property rights. Though, the share of each generation (the father and his siblings) is determined first, after which the successive generations have to subdivide the portion of property inherited from their corresponding predecessor.
The share of sons and daughters in inherited property
The Delhi High Court had ruled in 2016 that a grown-up son had no legal claim on his parents’ self-acquired property. Where the home is a self-acquired home of the parents, a son, whether unmarried or married, has no legal property rights to live in that home and he can live in that home only at the mercy of his parents up to the time the parents allow.
Once an ancestral property is partitioned between the family members, it would cease to be ancestral property. A father has an option to not will-out his self-acquired property to his son. Still, this is not valid in case of ancestral property.
The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 gives the status of a coparcener on daughter providing equal rights (with the son) on ancestral property. Just male members of the family were coparceners before the amendment which has modified the Section 6 of the original Hindu Succession Act of 1956 that did not specify daughter’s right in coparcenary property.
Some facts about property rights on ancestral properties in India
- The property rights in an ancestral property originate by birth.
- Coparceners, including daughters, can demand a partition and sale of the ancestral house as well secure his or her share.
- Properties of the paternal ancestors cannot be sold without the permission of the successors. Nevertheless, it can be reclaimed by filing a suit for partition in a civil court.
- Furthermore, if your share as property rights is denied you can send a legal notice indicating your rights.
- The property is considered as an ancestral property provided it is not divided by the members of a joint Hindu family.
- Once the inherited property is partitioned, the share obtained by each coparcener becomes his or her self-acquired property.
- Properties got from the maternal side does not qualify to be an ancestral property.
- The head of an undivided Hindu family has the power to manage the family assets under the Hindu law. But, when it comes to rights and ownership over an ancestral property each coparcener is entitled to getting his or her share.