Read Judgement: Shribachahh Kumar Bhoi and Ors v. Sindhu, W/o Akhil Kolta and Ors 

LE Staff

Raipur, July 6, 2021: While upholding the decision of a lower court, the Chhattisgarh High Court has ruled that a widow loses her right to deceased husband’s property, which is a constitutional right, once the fact of remarriage is strictly proved.

Justice Sanjay K. Agrawal observed that in the present case, the plaintiff has simply stated that Kiya Bai, a widow, had married someone else. But she was neither able to tell the name of person whom she has remarried, nor able to state the date and year when she remarried. 

The prosecution witness as well as the hearsay witness also failed to clearly state about the particulars of marriage and about the person with whom she was said to have performed second marriage, the HC observed.

“As such, there is no adequate pleading with regard to remarriage of Kiya Bai with any person and therefore there is neither pleading of remarriage of Kiya Bai with someone nor there is admissible evidence on record to hold that Kiya Bai had remarried and lost her right to the property,” Justice Agarwal observed.

The High Court further said that after remarriage, a widow loses her right in the property inherited from her husband. But unless the fact of remarriage is strictly proved after observing the ceremonies required as per Section 6 of the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act, 1856, the fact of remarriage cannot be said to be established by which the right to property, which is a constitutional right, is lost by the widow.

The Court observed that according to Section 6 of the Act of 1856, there can be no valid marriage in any form without a substantial performance of the requisite religious ceremonies. And, the effect of the valid remarriage is the widow losing her right in the property inherited from the previous husband. 

Reverting to the facts of the present case in the light of the proposition of law laid down by the Supreme Court in Shyam Narayan Singh and others v. Rama Kant Singh and others, it is admitted that after the death of the husband, his widow became the limited owner of his share by virtue of the provisions contained in Section 3(2) of the Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act, 1937, the HC held. 

Further, after coming into force of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 and by operation of Section 14(1) of the Act of 1956, her limited right in the suit property would blossom into absolute estate as contemplated by Section 14(1) of the Act of 1956 and she would become absolute owner of the suit property as on date.

Therefore, the High Court affirmed the finding recorded by the first appellate court that the defendant no.1 (Kiya Bai) became the absolute owner of the suit property after the death of her deceased husband. 

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