Converted children have right over Hindu parent’s property: Bombay High Court

Mumbai: The Bombay high court has said that a person, despite his altered religion, holds the entitlement to his Hindu parents’ property. The court was hearing a woman petitioner, who embraced Islam after marrying a Muslim. The brother of petitioner, a 68-year-old resident, had created third-party rights in a flat left behind by his deceased father.

“Renouncing a particular religion to get converted is a matter of choice and cannot cease relationships established by birth. Therefore, a Hindu convert is entitled to the father’s property if the latter dies intestate,” Justice Mridula Bhatkar pronounced a verdict on Tuesday.

The woman three years ago seeking a share in a shop and flat left behind by their deceased father in Matunga approached a civil court. As her brother sold the shop and was now considering the flat for sale, she petitioned in the court. The latter objected to the woman’s plea, claiming she lost all rights after she embraced a different faith.

After the civil court had overruled his contention, he approached the high court. Subhash Jha, appearing for him, cited section 26 of the Hindu Succession Act-1956 to claim that the sister was no longer eligible to inherit her father’s property.

However, Justice Bhatkar said that “The constitution guarantees right to religion as a fundamental right, allowing everybody in secular India to embrace and follow any faith of their choice. Hence, Hindus converted to other religions are not disqualified from claiming the property under section 26 of the Hindu Succession Act.”