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Hindu Inheritance or Succession Law


Hindu inheritance laws are predominantly for Hindu adherents from a significant population is in India. The traditional Hindu Law is one of the oldest personal laws in the world. Hindus looked to “Vedas” as the earlier sources of Law. According to ancient Hindu jurisprudence, Vedas were the source of “Dharma,” which means a person’s moral, social, and legal duties, which a person is supposed to obey and adhere to. However, Vedas (also called shrutis) were not the traditional sources of Hindu law. The “Smriti” was the traditional source that was based on the “Vedas”. The “Manusmriti” is the primary source of Hindu Inheritance law. 


One of the meanings of Mitakshara is “Inheritance by Birth,” whereas “Daya” in the Dayabhaga refers to “Wealth or Gift,” and that’s why Mitakshara allows inheritance by birth but not the Dayabhaga school.


Manusmriti verses on inheritance can be found in the chapter “Duties of the King,” which forms the basis of interpretation for Mitakshara and Dayabhaga schools of Hindu law. 


The modern Hindu laws are either codified or uncodified Law. The concepts of schools of Hindu Law do not exist in codified Law. However, it exists in uncodified Hindu Law. With the development of Smriti came the disparity in opinion among commentators and interpreters. There was no authoritative position of Law, although various codes were developed. Authority could be accepted in one part of India and rejected in other parts of India. Persons who accepted one authority were likely not to accept other authorities. Thus, different schools of thought emerged. Thus, schools of thought on Hindu law refer to the varied and divided opinions on the rules and principles of Hindu Law. Unlike statutes, they are not codified. They do not have the force of Law. However, they impact the minds of the legislature or lawmakers. 


The first Hindu Succession Act was created in 1956 and is applicable to Hindus, Buddhists, Jain, and Sikhs by religion but does not apply to Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jewish.


However, The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 did not cover any legal rights for the daughter on the father’s property. Whereas, in the case of being a joint Hindu family, the daughter was given the right to demand livelihood. Later on 9th September 2005, the Hindu Succession Act was amended to give the daughter equal rights as a son in the ancestral property due to western influence.


The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005) was enacted to remove gender discriminatory provisions in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Under the amendment, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth become a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son. The daughter shall now have the same rights in the coparcenary property (ancestral property of the Hindu undivided family) as a son. This amendment also repeals Section 23 of the Hindu Succession Act, which disentitled a female heir to ask for partition in respect of a dwelling house wholly occupied by a joint family until the male heirs choose to divide their respective shares. Section 24 of the Act, which denied the rights of a widow to inherit her husband‟s property upon her re-marriage, has been repealed. This Act has brought about a central amendment that is applicable to all state governments. 


We encourage you to join Muslims inheritance law course or read our book, which includes exclusive details about Jewish, Christian, and Hindu Inheritance laws. Islamic inheritance law is compared one-to-one with other laws and includes an extensive summary based on research.

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  1. Hindu Law for Students and Beginners, Edition 1940, P.23 by Rishindra Nath Sarkar.

  2. The Different Schools of Hindu Law by Nitya Bansal published on July 29, 2020, REF-

  3. Hindu Succession Act 1956.

  4. Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005

  5. Kakatiya Journal Of Historical Studies – Vol. XV, No. 1, May, 2020, Editor Prof. Thallapally Manohar.

  6. Government of India, National Review on Beijing +20, 2015, page 12; CEDAW/ C/IND/4-5, para. 5.

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