According to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) act, 2005, the supreme court ruling says that daughters have an equal right in the Hindu Undivided Family property even if the father died before the 2005 amendment. According to the legal experts, this is considered as a ‘progressive step’ and settles the ambiguity surrounding the nature and extent of daughter’s rights to inherit the property.

The apex court came on the issue whether the amendment granting equal rights to daughters to inherit ancestral property would have retrospective effect. Which means that the amendment of the act can lead to the outcome that, a daughter born of a coparcener, is a coparcener by birth and thus have equal rights the same as a son. Or she could be denied her share on the ground that se was born before the amendment date of 9th September,2005 and thus cannot be treated as a coparcener. A coparcener refers to a person who assumes a legal right in parental property by birth.

The Supreme court has clearly settled the issue on the effective date of the 2005 amendment, and stated that the date of birth of the daughter or alternatively the date of the death of the father will be laying no relevance. So as long as the daughter is alive post 2005, she has an equal right as a son in the coparcenary property.

Sunil Tyagi of Zeus law, a law firm said that, “The daughter shall now have equal rights in the parental property even if father was not alive on 9.9.2005. It is a landmark judgment and I feel it is another big step towards gender equality and women empowerment.”

“Many ancestors who did not believe in this equality and never imagined that law will change to this effect may turn in their grave. This is a good development for gender equality, but will certainly open a Pandora box and unimaginable contentious issues, more so as this is now retrospective as well as retroactive,” said Rajesh Narain Gupta, managing partner, SNG & Partners.