Brother could not be a successor to his sister’s assets inherited from her husband: SC
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 13-Feb-2017

New Delhi, February 13: On Sunday Supreme Court directed that a brother cannot claim his right over sister’s property inherited by her husband. Also the brother will not be considered to be the member of her matrimonial family. The bench comprising of Justice Dipak Mishra and R Banumathi noted and explained that the property was taken on rent in 1940 by Hem Ram Sharma, but after his death, his son Baldev got the tenancy rights. After Baldev passed away the property was rented out to his wife Lalita. After Lalita too passed away without any will her brother Durga Prasad sought tenancy rights claiming that he was part of the family and a legal successor as he was living with his sister.

Hence the bench rejected the plea of Durga Prasad who sought tenancy right over the property of his widowed sister in Dehradun. The bench of Justice Misra and Banumathi said that “since Durga Prasad does not fall under the category of ‘heir’ of Lalita’s husband, the tenancy of the suit premises will not devolve on him (Durga Prasad) nor can he be called an heir.”

The SC stated that, “Durga Prasad being the brother of deceased Lalita had no reason to normally reside with his married sister. Be it noted, in her written statement filed in the release application, Lalita had not averred that her brother Durga Prasad was living with her and that he was taking care of her.”

"Language used in the section (15) clearly specifies that the property inherited from the husband and father-in-law would devolve upon the heirs of husband/father-in-law from whom she inherited the property," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said.

"Upon death of Lalita, in terms of section 15(2)(b) of the Hindu Succession Act, in the absence of any son or daughter of deceased Lalita, the tenancy would devolve upon the heirs of her husband," the apex court said.In the facts of present case, the appellant being the brother of deceased tenant cannot be held to be the 'family' as the inclusive list given under the Act clearly omits 'brother and sister' and the same cannot be read therein as the list has to be read and interpreted strictly, it added. Hence the apex court directed the petitioner to hand over the vacant possession of the property to the landlord.