Sachidhanandam (Since dead) through his Lrs. Vs. E. Vanaja & Ors. 



Sachidhanandam (Since Dead) through his Lrs. vs. E. Vanaja & Ors. is a Supreme Court Civil Appellate Jurisdiction case of 2018, where it was held that “no 1st entitlement over Mother-in-Laws’ share of Joint Property by Widow of the Predeceased son”. 

Before briefing on the case, a small understanding of the succession of property for females needs to be understood. People from different religions are represented by their laws in terms of inheritance, marriage, separation, guardianship, etc. under the current general set of laws in India. In this way, the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 represents the Hindu line of succession. The fact that this Act distinguishes between the intestate succession of men and women is a crucial feature. The source from which the deceased female acquired the property also affects the female intestate succession. The practicality and logic of this distinction must be acknowledged on two levels: first, given the property’s foundation, and second, because of orientation. It demonstrates why, among other things, it is absurd and at odds with uniformity.


After India attained independence, the HSA, 1956, was established. At the time, the legislature had not considered the possibility that women in India may eventually own properties of their own volition. Over time, women have made progress in a variety of circles. Since then, India’s situation has drastically changed as a result of women taking the lead in a variety of areas and gaining the legal ability to own property. However, the Act, which also addresses non-testamentary Hindu succession as well as that of Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, has a gap regarding women’s self-obtained properties. According to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005, the daughter in a joint household became a coparcener just like the boy. The change ensured that the beneficiaries of ancestral property would be equal for men and women. Generally speaking, all types of property will transfer to the husband and children. However, if no one from the predeceased is still alive at the time of succession, the first sort of property will go to her father’s heirs, and the remaining portion will go to her husband’s heirs. It’s possible that the legislators wanted the property to go back to where it came from. The third category of property, which comprises property she has acquired on her own and property she has obtained from other sources or in any other way as long as she has total rights over it, is the topic of this investigation.

In an attempt to track the evolution of the law on intestate succession from Shastri law to statutory intercessions, an effort has been made to highlight the covert social contexts that enabled the ongoing alteration of Hindu law, each of which logically scuffed at its inherent immorality. Seeking to adopt an approach that examines the underlying assumptions behind the steadfastly contradictory legal framework governing intestate succession to a Hindu woman is vital.


While the appellants (defendants in the original suit) were the widow, sons, daughters, and grandsons of the Nallathambi Chettiar, E Vanaja, respondent no. 1 (plaintiff in the original suit), was the widow and the only heir of Elango, the third son whose property was in question. The properties included in schedules B, C, and C1 (suit properties) and their ownership and division were at issue. Respondent No. 1 had initially claimed mense profits in a partition litigation.

The Trial Court determined that the properties included in schedules B and C (rather than C1) belonged to a joint family, and the respondent was qualified to receive an eighth of the share. After receiving an appeal, the First Appellate Court overturned the initial ruling, concluding that the respondent was entitled to a 1/16th part in the schedule properties B and C1. It also stated that because of their acquisition, the assets included in the C schedule were not joint family properties and could not be divided.

In the second appeal, the HC determined that all three properties were joint family properties and that the respondent would be entitled to a 1/7th share of her mother-in-law’s share of the B, C, and C1 schedule properties, respectively, upon the death of her mother-in-law and husband.


Sections 15 and 16 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 are applied provisions to this case. Section 15 relies on “General Rules” for Hindu Succession by females and Section 16 relies on the “Distribution and line of succession” regarding this concept. A positive and consistent plan for the property advancement of an intestate Hindu female is formulated under Section 15 of the Act. Examining Section 15 of the Act, which lays out the general rules of succession, in conjunction with Section 16 of the Act, which requests the succession of the Hindu female’s beneficiaries. However, the Act’s Section 15 fails to take into account the worth of one’s destiny while acquiring property belonging to a Hindu woman who passes away intestate. 

When the legislators drafted the law, they had no idea that Hindu women would own self-procured property at the time. The property succession concerning the Hindu woman who died intestate is covered in Section 15. As stated in Section 16, a female Hindu’s property will be respected as per the guidelines outlined in this Section. Act sections 15 and 16 are nearing their implementation and do not supervise the property succession concerning the Hindu woman whose death happened before the Act’s inception.


The Mamta D. Vakil v. Bansi S. Wadhwa case is a landmark ruling that has the potential to significantly alter Hindu rules of female intestate succession. Although the case involves a typical female intestate succession dispute, it is one of the few exceptions that questions the legitimacy of the current judicial system. It contests the constitutionality of the HSA’s Sections 8 and 15. Thankfully, Article 15’s fundamental equality values were upheld by the judiciary on this occasion. To appreciate the judgment’s premise, one must be aware of the legal requirements for certifiable discrimination. 

The court determined that “the object of the legislation was to hold property with the joint family upon marriage which united males and females forming them into one institution” in the Sonubai Yeshwant Jadhav v. Bala Govinda Yadav case. In this way, it recognized that when the wife’s succession became available, the group known as the husband’s beneficiaries was permitted to rule because of the early unity in marriage, which occurred when the woman merged with the husband’s family.”

In Bhagat Ram v. Teja Singh, the property was bequeathed to the Hindu woman and her sister by their mother upon her death. Following the purchase of the property, one sister passed away without issue. Under Section 15(2)(a), the other sister agreed to sell the land to A and accepted it as her “father’s heir.” The brother of the deceased sister’s spouse contested the validity of this agreement and claimed the property as an heir under Section 15(1)(b).


The claim relating to ‘C’s scheduled property was clarified by the SC as:

  1. The available evidence demonstrated that the properties were jointly possessed and used by both parties;
  2. Because both parties shared possession of the properties, even if they were self-acquired, they were considered joint family properties.

The Court re-examined the HC’s ruling in light of Sections 15 and 16 of the Act and determined that the HC erred in granting respondent no. 1 a 1/16th portion of the mother-in-law’s share.

The Court emphasized that it is clear from a joint reading of Sections 15(1)(a) and 16 of the Act that, in the event of a female Hindu dying intestate, her property would pass first to her sons, daughters, and husband, as well as any surviving sons or daughters’ descendants. Because she was not the original claimant, the widow of a predeceased son was not eligible to receive any of her mother-in-law’s share.


Regarding a widow’s claim to her mother-in-law’s portion of a Hindu joint family property after her predeceased son passed away, the court has provided important clarification. The Supreme Court emphasized that Sections 15 and 16 of the Act stipulate that the assets of a Hindu woman who passes away intestate will be distributed as per Section 16’s guidelines. It further emphasized that Section 15(1)(a) states that the spouse and his sons and daughters—including the children of any deceased son or daughter—should get the devolution of property first.

  2. JUDGEMENT PDF OF THE SUPREME COURT CASE: Sachidhanandam since dead through his Lrs. vs. E. Vanaja and Ors., [Civil Appeal No. 366 of 2018], Lawbeats site, 
  3. Bare Act of THE HINDU SUCCESSION ACT, 1956, 


Vinodini Priya. S [BA-LLB],

Government Law College, Vellore.

Tamil Nadu.

Sachidhanandam (Since dead) through his Lrs. Vs. E. Vanaja & Ors. 

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