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Tribal women’s succession rights: The Supreme Court directs the Centre to consider amending the Hindu Succession Act

On Friday, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to examine the issue of intestate succession and consider amending the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act in order to make them applicable to the Scheduled Tribes. The Supreme Court observed that a female tribal member is entitled to parity with male tribal members.

In the top court’s view, if a daughter belonging to a non-tribal community is entitled to an equal share of her father’s property, there is no reason to deny the same right to a tribal community’s daughter.

In accordance with Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Succession Act is not applicable to Scheduled Tribe members.

According to a bench of Justices M R Shah and Krishna Murari, there is no justification for denying the right of survivorship (to property after the death of another who has a joint interest) to female members of Scheduled Tribes.

“It is directed that the Central Government examine the issue of whether to withdraw the exemptions provided under the Hindu Succession Act as far as the applicability of the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act to Scheduled Tribes is concerned and whether an amendment is required.

A bench of the Supreme Court said: “We hope and trust that the Central Government will take appropriate action in light of the right to equality guaranteed by Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.”

Female tribal members are entitled to parity with male tribal members in intestate successions, as stated by the apex court.

“It is unacceptable to deny a daughter belonging to a tribal family the right to equal treatment despite the fact that the Constitution guarantees the right to equality for 70 years. Therefore, it is high time for the Central Government to investigate the matter and, if necessary, amend the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act so that the Hindu Succession Act does not apply to members of the Scheduled Tribe,” said the bench.

Under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, the top court made these observations while dismissing a case concerning whether a daughter (from a scheduled tribe) is entitled to the share of compensation relating to land acquired on a survivorship basis.

Accordingly, the parties are subject to its provisions so long as Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act remains in force and no amendment is made.

“Therefore, though on equity we may be with the appellant being a daughter and more than approximately 70 years have passed after the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act and much water has flown thereafter and though we are prima facie of the opinion that not to grant the benefit of survivorship to the daughter in the property of the father can be said to be bad in law and cannot be justified in the present scenario unless Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act is amended, the parties being a member of the Scheduled Tribe are governed by Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act,” the bench said.



Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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