June 2019


Senior Advocate


Agricultural Land Preferential rights of heirs over immovable property applies to agricultural properties also [Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Sections 4, 14, 22]

Babu Ram vs. Santokh Singh (deceased) through his L.R.s and Ors. AIR 2019, Supreme Court 1506


A dispute arose over the question whether one of the heirs would have a preferential right over the intestate property devolved upon them at the time of transferring such property. Whether section 22 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 applies to agricultural lands also?


Section 22 of the Act provides that any immovable property of an intestate person, or any business carried on by him or her, whether solely or in conjunction with others, devolves upon two or more heirs specified in Class I of the Schedule, and if any one of such heirs proposes to transfer his or her interest in the property or business, the other heirs shall have a preferential right to acquire the interest proposed to be transferred. However, the Act does not say anything in the case of agricultural land.


It was observed that when the Parliament thought of conferring the rights of succession in respect of various properties, including agricultural holdings, it put a qualification on the right to transfer to an outsider and gave preferential rights to the other heirs with a designed object. Under the Shastric Law, the interest of a coparcener would devolve by principles of survivorship to which an exception was made by virtue of section 6 of the Act. If the conditions stipulated therein were satisfied, the devolution of such interest of the deceased would not go by survivorship but in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Since the right itself in certain cases was created for the first time by the provisions of the Act, it was thought fit to put a qualification so that the properties belonging to the family would be held within the family, to the extent possible, and no outsider would e


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