Possession over the property is essential under section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 : Supreme Court

The case involved the adopted son/respondent of a female widow, who sought partition of a property inherited by his deceased mother from her husband’s Hindu Undivided Family (HUF).

The widow had inherited the HUF property but was not in possession of it.

Despite this, the adopted son filed a suit for partition of the HUF property. A bench comprising Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, after examining statutory provisions and precedents, observed that mere inheritance of a share in the HUF does not entitle a Hindu female to full ownership of the property without actual possession.

The Court held that possession is a critical requirement under Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act. Since the deceased widow never possessed the property, she could not claim ownership. Consequently, her adopted son’s suit for partition, seeking absolute ownership based on Section 14(1), was not maintainable.

The Supreme Court held that for a female Hindu to claim absolute ownership of an undivided property of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), she should have been in possession of the property.

Case title: Case Title: MUKATLAL VERSUS KAILASH CHAND (D) THROUGH LRS. AND ORS.

Citation: 2024 (SC) 388

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