In this blog, we are describing the gradual legislative changes in the classical concept of mitakshara law since the married women property act, 1874. The uncodified rules of joint family and coparcenary changed with the introduction of the Hindu succession act, 1956 and later by the Hindu succession act, 2005.

The classical concept of Hindu joint family and coparcenary is uncodified law. Hindu joint family is not constituted by joint family property but from the actions of members like joint worship, cooking, etc. A person by birth or by adoption can become a member of a joint family. It is a combination of Karta, coparcener their wives and unmarried daughters. Coparceners are male descendants of common ancestors who possess the right to the property of ancestors by birth. Females were not coparcener and lose their status as joint family members after marriage.

In 1874 for the first time, property rights were provided to married women under the married women property act, 1874 in property of his husband.

In 1937, the change was introduced in the classical concept of joint family. Before 1937, a widow didn’t have the right to the property of his deceased husband because of the rule of survivorship, it devolve upon another coparcener. But post-1937, under the Hindu widow property act, 1937 rights in the property of husband provided to widows and they can enjoy it for their life only. No right in relation to the disposition of property was given to them.

An enormous change came in the classical concept of joint family and coparcenary after the introduction of the Hindu succession act, 1956. It deals with the intestate succession of joint family property in a joint family. It demolished the rule of survivorship and introduced a new rule under section 6 which infer about the intestate succession of property between the member of the joint family through national partition means immediately before the death of the person, it is presumed that his partition take place and under section 8 his property distributed in his heirs in class 1 daughters are also included as heirs.

In 1986 under an act passed by the Andra Pradesh government which accepted unmarried daughters as a coparcener in Hindu joint family property. Gradually other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra introduced the act based on the same line.

In 2005 Hindu succession amendment act, 2005 introduced which diluted and removed many rules of joint family and coparcenary. In the whole of India, females are accepted as coparcener absolute ownership given to females as was enjoyed by males. After that from 24/Dec/2004, all females possess such right. They become a coparcener in joint family and capable of alienating the property as well.

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