The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Central government to consider amending the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act to make it applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribes, saying that a female is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession.
A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Krishan Murari said: "When the daughter belonging to the non-tribal is entitled to the equal share in the property of the father, there is no reason to deny such right to the daughter of the tribal community. Female tribal is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession."
Emphasising it is bad law after a period of 70 years of the Constitution, under which right to equality is guaranteed, the bench said the Central government should look into the matter regarding the denial of equal right to the daughter belonging to the tribal.
"If required, to amend the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act by which the Hindu Succession Act is not made applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribe," it said.
As per Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act, this law is not be applicable to members of the Scheduled Tribes. But the bench said: "There may not be any justification to deny the right of survivorship (a right of a person to property on the death of another having a joint interest) so far as the female member of the tribal is concerned."
"It is directed to examine the question by the Central government to consider it just and necessary to withdraw the exemptions provided under the Hindu Succession Act in so far as the applicability of the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act to the Scheduled Tribes and whether to bring a suitable amendment or not," it said.
The bench further added that the court hopes and trust the Central government will look into the matter and take an appropriate decision taking into consideration the right to equality guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The top court's direction came in a judgment dismissing a plea whether a daughter, belonging to Scheduled Tribes, is entitled to the share in the compensation with respect to the land acquired on survivorship basis under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act.
The bench said, "though on equity we may be with the appellant being 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) ofAA the Hindu Succession Act is amended, the parties being member of the Scheduled Tribe are governed by Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act".
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