Citation: Civil Appeal No. Diary No. 32601 of 2018[1]

                   Decided on August 11, 2020.

Bench: Arun Mishra, S.Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah J.J.


Smt.Vineeta Sharma, the plaintiff/appellant (hereinafter Plaintiff), filed the suit that gave rise to the appeal against her two brothers, Mr. Rakesh Sharma, Defendant No. 1, Mr. Satyendra Sharma, Defendant No. 2, and Mrs. Rameshwari Sharma, Defendant No. 3 (hence, Defendants). The plaintiff and defendants numbers one and two are all children of defendant number three. Sh. Dev Dutt Sharma, the father of the first and second defendants as well as the plaintiff, acquired the suit property from DLF Housing and Development Ltd. when he purchased a piece of land measuring 250 square metres in New Delhi. The building’s two and a half levels were constructed by Sh. Dev Dutt Sharma. He moved into the property with his family and resided on the first floor. Bank of Baroda was one of the lessees who rented out the ground floor as well as a one-room apartment built on the terrace. Sh. Dev Dutt Sharma filed an eviction petition against the aforementioned bank, but he passed away on December 11th, 1999, intestate, before the litigation could be resolved. He married, had three sons (one of whom passed away on July 1, 2001), and one daughter. Plaintiff asserted that she had equal rights to the property as his daughter and sought a one-fourth share after his passing. She added that she stored a few moveable goods there as well as frequently visiting her parents’ house. She requested a property division by legal notice on October 17, 2001, and when the defendants rejected the request, claiming that she was no longer a joint family member after her marriage, she filed the suit. The Delhi High Court held that because the appellant’s father passed away on December 11, 1999, the 2005 amendment act did not benefit the appellant. Subsequently, the Supreme Court received an appeal.[2]


  • Whether a daughter can serve as a coparcener even though her father passed away before the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.
  • Whether the particular amendment in question is retroactive, prospective, or retroactive in nature.
  • Does a daughter who was born before November 9, 2005, have the same rights and duties in coparcenary as a son?
  • Is an oral partition still acceptable as the statutory method of division after December 20, 2004?


Arguments presented by Shri Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General of India, appearing on behalf of Union of India:

  • The 2005 Amendment Act is retroactive rather than retrospective.
  • The rights that were crystallised by the division prior to December 20, 2004, were unaffected by the daughter’s rights being conferred.
  • The phrase “daughter of a coparcener” in Section 6[3] does not necessarily mean a coparcener’s surviving daughter. The coparcener need not have been alive on the day the amended act went into effect.
  • The justification provided in Section 6(5) for the requirement of a registered partition deed is directory in nature and does not constitute mandatory.

Arguments presented by Shri R. Venkataramani, learned Senior Counsel and amicus curiae:

  • In Phulavati’s case court held that the provisions of Section 6 are prospective in nature.
  • Because a coparcener’s interest would have merged with the interest of the remaining coparcenary at his death, the daughter would not inherit from a coparcener’s father upon his death. In order to succeed, the daughter must serve the interests of a living coparcener.
  •  The occurrence of coparcener births prior to 2005 is irrelevant, even if equality was introduced with the enactment of the 2005 Amendment.
  •  The intent of Sections 6(1) and 6(5) is not to reopen the topic of oral partition or family settlement.

Arguments presented by Mr. V.V.S. Rao, learned Senior Counsel and amicus curiae:

  • The term “coparcener” refers to a daughter born before or after 2005.
  • The Parliament wanted to imply that by using the language in Section 6(1)(b) and (c), they were granting the rights in the coparcenary after the change, not prior to it.
  • A partition did not need to be registered in accordance with the applicable law. If an oral partition is acknowledged, it must be properly supported by evidence.
  • A daughter’s rights to the coparcenary property were not intended to be granted retroactively by the legislature.
  • It is clear from Section 6(1)’s use of the terms “on and from” that the daughter becomes a coparcener as of the Act’s beginning.
  • Any previous transaction involving alienation, disposal, or partition, whether oral or 

written, cannot be affected         by      the       daughter’s        status     as   a coparcener. All genuine prior transactions, including any oral partition made by the parties, are

protected by the explanation.

  • Inorder for the daughter to inherit and become a coparcener, there must be a coparcener who is still alive.

Argument presented by the appellant’s advocate, Shri Amit Pai:

  • Section 6 covers all living daughters of coparceners, regardless of whether their father is alive or not on the amendment’s effective date.
  • The goal of the amended act to put the daughter and son on an equal footing will be defeated if both the coparcener and the daughter must be alive on the day of modification.
  • The Phulavati decision cannot establish the right legislation.

Arguments presented by the respondent’s advocate, Shri Sridhar Potaraju:

  • The Amended Act is prospective in nature.
  • Daughter of a coparcener implies the daughter of an alive coparcener and she holds the  status of coparcener on and from the start of the Act.
  • In a statutory division, a property turns into a self acquired property, and any coparcenary rights cease to exist.
  • As a result, the amendment shouldn’t have any impact on any of the previous or past  transaction.


A three-judge bench consisting of Justices Arun Mishra, M. R. Shah, and S. Abdul Nazeer rendered the verdict in the aforementioned case. The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that a coparcener father need not be alive as of September 9, 2005, in order for a daughter to inherit rights over the coparcenary property, as per the Amended Section 6The Hon’ble Supreme Court decided that the amendment Section 6 is retroactive in nature when deciding whether it should be applied in a retrospective or prospective manner. The court made it clear that although the daughters were born with the right to their coparcenery property, they only made claims to the property after the amendment was passed on September 9, 2005. The amendment has become retroactive as a result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Section 6 of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.The court stated that the clause in Section 6(4) makes it obvious that the provisions of Section 6 are not retrospective.[4]

According to the Apex Court’s explanation, the daughter will be granted the same rights as a coparcener beginning on and after November 9, 2005, although it is founded on a previous occurrence, namely her birth.

Additionally, the court determined that a notional division does not imply an actual partition has taken place. The court emphasised that the determination of the shares distributed and fixed upon notional partition is not conclusive because the birth of a new coparcener or the death of any coparcener already in existence may result in an increase or decrease in the shares of the other coparcener.

According to the Supreme Court’s decision, even if a preliminary decree has been issued by a court, the court must take into account any changes in the law before issuing the final decree. As a result, even if a preliminary decree has been made on the issue, a daughter is able to assert coparcenary rights.

The court determined that an oral partition could not be used as a defence. This is the general rule, the court said, but in some cases, oral partitions might be legitimate and an exception might be allowed. To establish the accuracy of the oral partition, the defence will have the onus of proof, though.[5]


Some law critics claim that the court overlooked the fact that the daughter receives double benefits from these rules when she marries. Inheritances from the woman’s marriage and her father’s familial lineage are both included. The men, however, exclusively inherit from the lineage of their fathers. Because men aren’t eligible for double beneficiaries, there has been social injustice towards them. Otherwise, it is pointless to criticise the Supreme Court’s decision because it eliminated the inequity that persisted even after the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, had been in effect for 15 years. Now that the case has been presented, it is up to the various High Courts and District Courts to decide how best to represent the Hon’ble Supreme Court while keeping this case in mind. One thing that should be kept in mind is that the amendment should have been passed with this point made clear by Parliament. All the misinterpretations  throughout the years might have been resolved.


The Vineeta Sharma decision has clarified the law’s ambiguity and established that the Hindu  Succession Act amendment, which grants daughters equal rights to inherit ancestors’ property,  is legal. The court also recognised that gender cannot be used as an excuse to deny anyone their  inheritance  rights  because  doing  so  would  violate  Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law.

The Hindu  Succession Act’s  unamended  Section 6 was  discriminatory; hence, the Act’s objectives were to fix this legal problem. The Supreme Court has also interpreted the  Act in light of these objectives.

As a result, it has set a precedent that will guarantee  that no fictitious or sham partitions will prevent a daughter from having the same rights as her parents in a Hindu joint family.

After the amendment Act of 2005, a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India held in the case of Prakash & Others v.Phulavati & Others[6], that the Act of 2005 is   prospective in nature and exclusively grants benefits to daughters whose father were still alive on September 9, 2005. In other words, if the the father passed away prior to the Act of 2005’s effective date, the daughter will not be entitled to a share of the coparcener’s property, just like the son. 

Although  the Supreme  Court  of  India’s  Division  Bench in the case of Danamma @ Suman Surpur & Another v. Amar & Others[7] did not specifically address the idea of a living daughter of a coparceer, it took an opposing view from that in the Phulavati case and held that daughters have the same rights to the coparcenary property as sons, evethough the coparcener had passed away. Therefore, in the case of Vineeta Shrma, the Supreme Court completely overruled the Phulvati  case and partially overruled the Danamma case.

Name- Richa        

College- Patna Law College, Patna University

[1]  SUPREME COURT OF INDIA, (last visited Jun. 29, 2023).

[2] AEQUITAS VICTORIA, (last visited Jun. 15, 2023).

[3] Hindu Succession Act, 2005, § 6, No. 39, Acts of Parliament, 2005 (India).

[4] IPLEADERS, (last visited Jun. 16, 2023).

[5] LAWYERSCRIPT, (last visited Jun, 18, 2023).

[6] (2016) 2 SCC 36.

[7] AIR 2018 SC 721.