Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act – towards gender equality

Nov 20, 2020


Religion is a matter of belief; religion is a matter of faith, and the foundation of modern democracy is freedom of religion. It is the right of every person to elect to be governed in private matters by secular laws in a multi-religious country like India that has chosen a secular state, and it is the responsibility of the state to have an optional secular code of family laws. 

The Indian Constitution grants rights to all Indian people, especially in the form of fundamental rights, for their protection, assertion, defence, and livelihood, regardless of their caste, religion, gender, and ethnicity. Every Indian citizen, regardless of his gender, caste, religion, and ethnicity, is guaranteed equality before the law and equal protection of the laws through the enforcement of Article 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution.

As Justice Rama Swamy said, there is sexism in India against girl children. There are also different religions and personal rules that have been formulated according to the need for a particular religion. Private religious laws have been biased against women. There are references to several incidents of violence against women. Civil laws do not contain such discrimination.


The mother, daughter, and widow were also added to the list of class 1 heirs in 1956 by making an amendment in section 6 which contains the list of who will be the 1st class heirs of the family. This meant that if a division took place in a HUF, the mother, daughter and a widow would now be first in line to get the estate.

The amendment of 2005 by granting the right of a coparcener in which a daughter of the Hindu joint family is considered to be a coparcener, and they are entitled to all rights and obligations as a son, Section 6 of the Act provides an equal role for women. Also, even after her marriage, the daughter retains the status of coparcener since they are granted the right of coparcener by virtue of their birth. As of now, a woman has equal rights as a male in the ownership of a property Hindu family. 

Although the 2005 amendment granted women equal rights and obligations, several disputes emerged concerning the scope of the 2005 Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act: whether or not this Act is retrospective in scope, or does it have a retrospective effect? And also, whether or not women's rights are dependent on their fathers' living status at the time of amendment?

Development of law

As per the amendment in 2005, that the daughter shall have no right of inheritance to be entitled to the property of the coparcenary, if the coparcener (father) died before 9 September 2005 (the date of entry into force of the amendment). As per this interpretation, the amendment benefit was given to living coparceners living daughter only; which like just a swap in the dusty, but the dust was still there showing discrimination.

Later in 2018, in the judgment led by Justice A.K Sikri in the case of Danamma v/s Amar Singh, stated that ever is the father died before the enactment and enforcement of the 2005 amendment the living daughter has the claiming rights over the coparcenary property. But then the question arose about the dead daughter’s children right.

Since birth, the daughters have their claim to ancestral property as they are a coparcener in the same way as a son since birth. Therefore their children will have the same rights as the son’s children have over the HUF property. 

The amendment of 2005 brought major changes which, in a way, helped to eliminate gender discrimination in the HUF related to property division and more effective use of fundamental rights.