Section 29A of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (as applicable in Andhra Pradesh)

Joint property of minor female:

The Andhra Pradesh and Ceiling Act (Act 1 of 1973) Act was published in Andhra Pradesh Gazette on 1.1.73. Under the Act, the determination of the retainable area of agricultural land was to be done with reference to the land held by the ‘family unit’ on 1.1.75. The ‘family unit’ was defined in section 2(f) as comprising the individual, his or her spouse or spouses and their minor sons and their unmarried minor daughters. The petitioner before us was a member of the family unit as she was an unmarried minor daughter of the 2nd respondent as on 1.1.75. The declarant, her father under Section 8 was obliged to declare the total land held by himself and those lands held by other member of the family unit. The excess land was computed in respect of her father’s family unit under Section 9 of the Act and the father had to surrender the same as provided in Section 10. That excess land would vest in the State free of encumbrances under Section 11.

Under the Land Reforms Act, 1973 if the family property comprised ancestral or coparcenary property of a Hindu, and if the declarant had no major sons, the entire extent of the said property was liable to be shown in the declaration together with any separate property held by the declarant or other members of the family unit. If on the other hand, there was (say) a major son as on 1.1.75 entitled to a share in the ancestral or coparcenary property then the declarant was to declare his share in the said property along with any separate property held by himself or other members of the family unit.

The declarant (2nd respondent) who is the father of the petitioner, was having excess land as on 1.1.1975. The petitioner was a minor daughter on that date and had neither a duty nor a right to file a declaration soon after 1975, within the prescribed period. That excess of her father’s unit had to be computed under the Act and when computed, was liable to be surrendered to the State. The delay in the determination of the excess or in surrender proceedings would not affect the right of the State to this excess land as on 1.1.75.

Section 29A of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (as amended) conferred a right, on the unmarried daughter as on 5.9.85 in the Hindu Joint Family property with the incidence of right by birth. But, so far as the determination of excess land of the father is concerned, the relevant date is 1.1.1975 and on that day, the petitioner was a minor and the fact that on a later date, viz 5.9.85. The sharers in the Hindu joint family increased and acquired a right to a share with incidence of coparcenary right or right by birth, would not in our opinion have any bearing on the excess in the father’s holding as on 1.1.1975, which only remained to be computed. If his family unit was in excess, as on 1.1.75 the excess had to be surrendered to the State. The subsequent event of the sharers increasing was not relevant. Thus, section 29A introduced w.e.f. 5.9.85 would not have the effect of taking out any land from out of the excess land computed or to be computed as against the father as on 1.1.1975.

The excess land of the father as on 1.1.1975 would remain the same and would not suffer any diminution on account of the subsequent event, namely, the right acquired by the daughter under Section 29A. The reason is that section 29A does not alter the factual position that she was a minor as on 1.1.75.

[Source: Makineni Venkata Sujatha vs. Land Reforms Tribunal, AIR 2000 SC 3191: 2000 Supp (4) SCR 15: 2000 (8) SCC 196: 2000 Supp (1) JT 577]

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