14. Property of a female Hindu to be her absolute Property.-
(1) Any property possessed by a female Hindu, whether acquired before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner.
Explanation.- In this sub-section, “property” includes both movable and immovable property acquired by a female Hindu by inheritance or devise, or at a partition, or in lieu of arrears of maintenance, or by gift from any person, whether a relative or note, before, at or after her marriage, or by her own skill or exertion, or by purchase or by prescription, or in any other manner whatsoever, and also any such property held by her as stridhana immediately before the commencement of this Act.
(2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall apply to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any other instrument or under a decree or order of a civil court or under an award where the terms of the gift, will or other instrument or the decree, order or award prescribe a restricted estate in such property.
Absolute ownership of property
(i) Property given to widow in lieu of her maintenance, after coming into force of Hindu Succession Act, ripens into full estate and widow becomes absolute owner in view of section 14(1) of the Act; Santosh v. Saraswathibai, AIR 2006 Kant 85.
(ii) The respondent had a limited widow’s estate in the scheduled properties which was given to her in lier of her maintenance and the same ripened into an absolute estate in view of the provisions of section 14 (1) of the Act. Thus, the Act made her an absolute owner; Yemanappa Dudappa Marve v. Yelubai, AIR 2003 Karn 396.
(iii) Any property possessed by a Hindu female, irrespective of how it was acquired, becomes her absolute property after coming into force of the Act in view of the operation of section 14(1); Chaudhary v. Ajudhia, AIR 2003 NOC 126 (HP).
(iv) The testator had given the property to Sarjabai only for a limited period, hence she would not be its absolute owner under sub-section (1) of section 14. The property would, in fact, be governed by sub-section (2) of section 14 as the court should give effect to the intention of the testator; Bhura v. Kashiram, AIR 1994 SC 1202.
(v) Sub-section (2) of section 14 must be read as a proviso or exception to sub-section (1) of section 14 and its operation must be confined to cases where property is acquired for the first time as a grant without any pre-existing right. If the female had an existing interest in the property, the interposition of any instrument will not affect the operation of sub-section (1) of section 14 and the property will be held by the female as her absolute property; M. Shamugha Udayar v. Sivanandam, AIR 1994 Mad 123.
(vi) When some property is allotted to the widow in lieu of her claim for maintenance, she becomes its absolute owner; V. Tulsamma v. Sesha Reddy, AIR 1977 SC 1944.
(vii) The right of the alliance is co-extensive with that of the widow; Jagat Singh v. Teja Singh, AIR 1970 P&H 309 (FB).
(i) The words “any property possessed by a female Hindu” include actual as well as constructive possession. Even when the property is in the possession of a trespasser, she is in its constructive possession; Mangal v. Ratno, AIR 1967 SC 1786.
(ii) The word ‘possessed’ is used in the broad sense and in the context means the state of owning or having in ones hand or power; Gurumalappuru v. Setra, AIR 1959 SC 577.
(i) The expression “female Hindu” in the heading of section 14 of the Act as well as the expression “any property possessed by a female Hindu” have to be given a wider interpretation in consonance with the wishes and desires of the framers of the Constitution. The expression ‘female Hindu’ would take in “daughter” also. Therefore, limited interest of daughter in property would get enlarged to full right after the commencement of the Act; Jose v. Ramakrishnan Nair Radhakrishnan, AIR 2004 Ker 16.
(ii) If no property is given in lieu of maintenance and only a sum of money is given, then section 14 does not apply; Sulabha v. Abhimanyu, AIR 1983 Ori 71.