SC: “Mere possession” insufficient if right u/s 14(1) of HSA,1956 is claimed

Today, i.e. on 4thApril 2019, in the matter Of Ajit Kaur @ Surjit Kaur v. Darshan Singh(Dead) Through Lrs.& Ors., the Hon’ble Supreme Court pronounced that for a woman claiming rights to the subject property u/s 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, having a mere possession is not enough, the possession should be such which falls under any of the devise referred to in the explanation of Section 14(1).

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The mutation of a property in the revenue records are fiscal proceedings and does not create or extinguish title nor has it any presumptive value on title. It only enables the person in whose favour mutation has been ordered, to pay the land revenue. (Para 14)

The effect of a declaratory decree to restore the property alienated to the estate of the alienor and until and unless the alienees are able to convince the court that they have no subsisting interest in the property, the heirs of the alienees would be entitled to the benefits of the property as per the law of succession. (Para 14)

Possession under any devise referred to in explanation of Section 14(1) is necessary for a woman claiming rights to property under Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Mere possessionwould not confer pre-­existing right of possession over the subject property to claim full ownership rights after the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 came into force by operation of law. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 20)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_04-Apr-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

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