A woman, Manju Narayan Nathan, has challenged the Hindu Succession Act's provision section 15 and called it discriminating based on gender.
The section in question says that upon the death of a woman, the husband's family (including his extended family) has a stronger claim to her property than her own family. The same system is applicable when the woman has acquired the property through her own skill or effort. The property of a Hindu woman would only devolve upon her parents if she has no living husband, children, and there are no heirs of the husband.
The petitioner lost her daughter and son-in-law to Covid-19. The couple was childless. And she described her daughter to be an independent woman with her own income and self-acquired property.
The Constitutional validity of section 15 has already been questioned thrice. In 2012, the Bombay High Court recognised the discrimination in the provision. The Hindu Succession Amendment Bill, 2015 also brought the same discrimination before the parliament. The law Commission in the 207th report recommended that the provision be removed and the Act be amended to avoid discrimination.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari said that they would like to hear the opinion of a High Court before hearing the plea themselves. The top court granted the permission to withdraw the plea from SC and liberty to approach the High Court.