The Mitakshara coparcenary property issue has resurfaced repeatedly, particularly concerning agricultural land owned by Vishal and Keja Bai, the children of Phannuram through his second wife. Kesar Bai, Phannuram’s sister-in-law, claimed a share in these properties after receiving Phannuram’s 1/3rd share. Vishal opposed her demand for partition and allocation of her individual share.

Following Kesar Bai’s death during the lawsuit, the Trial Court ruled in favor of Derha, Kesar Bai’s son, awarding him a 1/3rd share in the agricultural land and two house properties, as well as mesne profits. Vishal and Keja Bai appealed this decision, but the Appellate Court dismissed it in 1999. They then took the matter to the High Court of Chhattisgarh, where, in a judgment dated 31.03.2009, Derha’s share was reduced to 1/6th.

Derha appealed to the Supreme Court, and on 09.10.2009, the Court directed a status quo. Vishal argued that the properties were not coparcenary but joint properties held by Phannuram and his brothers. Kesar Bai had previously claimed these properties as ancestral.

However, once it was established that the properties in question were indeed coparcenary, the primary issue became how to divide them among Phannuram’s legal heirs. According to Section 6 of the Act of 1956, when a male Hindu dies with an interest in Mitakshara coparcenary property, that interest devolves by survivorship among surviving male members, and if none exist, it devolves through testamentary or intestate succession, including female relatives.

DERHA ….. Appellant
Vs.
VISHAL & ANR.
….. Respondents decided by the Supreme Court of India on September 1, 2023.

By aor.sanjivnarang@gmail.com

Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.