Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Mukatlal v. Kailash Chand (D) through LRs. And Ors.

Date of Order / Judgment: 22nd May, 2024

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta


In the present case, the Respondent, adopted son of a widow claimed a partition of the disputed property stating that his widow mother had inherited the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) property after her husband’s death. However, the widow was not in possession of the HUF property, and her suit for claiming title and possession over the HUF property was rejected. No appeal was permitted against this judgment, making the decision final. Despite this, the Respondent, who is the adopted son of the widow, filed a suit seeking partition of the HUF property. The High Court eventually ruled in favor of this suit. Aggrieved by this the defendant/appellant approached the Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court.


Whether the Hindu Women can claim full Ownership of Property under Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act?


The Court observed that “In this context, when we consider the effect of the earlier civil suit instituted by Smt. Nadkanwarbai (deceased widow), it becomes clear that she was never in possession of the suit property because the civil suit was filed by her claiming the relief of title as well as possession and the same was dismissed. This finding of the civil Court was never challenged. Since, Smt. Nadkanwarbai was never in possession of the suit property, as a necessary corollary the Revenue suit for partition claiming absolute ownership under Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act could not be maintained by her adopted son, plaintiff Kailash Chand by virtue of inheritance.”


Thus, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and reversed the judgment of the High Court and held that for establishing full ownership on the undivided joint family estate under Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu female must not only be possessed of the property but she must have acquired the property.