Tuesday 5 October 2021

Whether step mother can get right in the property of her step son as his mother?

 The petitioner is the step mother of deceased Sarang Rameshrao Garajkar who died on 19.09.2013. The respondent No. 2 is his widow and respondent No. 1 is their minor son. The respondents applied for Succession Certificate under Section 372 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (hereinafter 'the Act') in respect of the debts and securities more particularly described in paragraph No. 5 of their application being MARJI No. 823/2014. 

6. If such is the legal position, it is sufficient for the present enquiry to barely reiterate the admitted facts. The petitioner is the step mother and not the biological mother of deceased Sarang, whereas the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 are his son and widow. The debts and securities described in paragraph No. 5 of the respondent No. 1 and 2's application stand in the name of Sarang, albeit it is their case that some of such debts or securities have been recovered by the petitioner as his nominee. Needless to state that since the parties are governed by Hindu Succession Act, succession in respect of the properties left behind by Sarang would be governed by Section 8 of that Act and as can be appreciated from the Schedule the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 being son and widow would fall in the Class-I category.

7. So far as the petitioner is concerned, as far as deceased Sarang is concerned being a step mother as distinguished from mother which are two separate entries which can be found in Class-II and Class-I respectively, she would be entitled to inherit to his estate only being a 'father's widow' and not as a 'mother'.

8. Independently, since words "mother" and "father's widow" have been consciously and separately inserted in Class-I and Class-II of the Schedule to the Hindu Succession Act 1956, one can easily comprehend that these two are separate and distinct entities. A conjoint reading of the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act would explicitly reveal that as far as the properties left behind by a male Hindu, as far as devolution of interest in a coparcenary property is concerned it would be governed by Section 6 and a step mother being a widow of the deceased father, she may be able to lay a claim in the capacity of a widow falling in Class-I. However, so far as a devolution of interest in the property of a step-son, by virtue of Section 8, a step mother would only be entitled to lay a claim in her capacity as a 'father's widow' which is an entry in Class II.

Bombay High Court
Sunita Rameshrao Garajkar vs Shravan Sarang Garajkar And ... on 1 October, 2021

Bench: Mangesh S. Patil
Read full Judgment here: Click here
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