Parents can deny family property to negligent children: Supreme Court


Removing any misgiving about the claim of a share in the joint family property, the Supreme Court has held that the parents have every right to deny the share to the negligent children who simply do not take care of them in old age when they need their help the most, but are virtually left in the lurch.

The apex court gave the ruling in dispute among three brothers over the property of their father Harishankar from Madhya Pradesh inherited by him as his share form joint Hindu family property in two partitions held earlier in 1965 and 1985.

Harishankar’s two sons —Vinod Kumar and Anand Kumar — did not bother to take care of their old parents. The parents lived with their third son Mahesh Kumar, who along with his wife, looked after them. A bench of Justices G. S. Singhvi and S. J. Mukhopadyaya said: “There was nothing unnatural or unusual in the decision of Harishankar to give his share in the joint family property to appellant.”

Pointing out that Mr Vinod Kumar and Mr Anand Kumar even did not spend any money on the funeral and other last rites of their mother when she died in 1992, the Supreme Court said, “Any person of ordinary prudence would have adopted the same course and would not have given anything to the ungrateful children form his or her share in the property.”

“Neither of them bothered to look after the parents in their old age. The attitude of the two left Harishankar and his wife with no choice but to live with Mahesh, who along with his wife and children took care of the old parents and looked after them during their illness,” the top court said while declaring the Will executed by Harishankar in favour of Mahesh as valid in law even in respect of the joint family property.

The judgement is being seen as “innovative” by legal experts, especially in the context of the accepted principle of succession in the joint Hindu family property that makes every member entitled of his or her share as per the family tree. The principle so far established in several judgements of the top court was that the parents can give their self-acquired property to any one but cannot “bequeath” their share in joint family property in a Will contrary the legitimate hereditary share of each person in the family tree.

The judges said that they were not required to go so deep into the evidence about the manner Harishankar signed the Will in favour of Mahesh, which was challenged by Vinod and Anand. Their main focus was rather on the “unmistakably” clear evidence, which showed that the two sons had separated from the family and even had taken certain properties as their share, but after that they simply did not “bothered to take care of the old parents.”

The apex court also criticised the MP High Court for overlooking the vital fact that the parents needed the care by their all the children. The HC had overturned the lower court verdict declaring Harishankar’s Will in favour of Mahesh as valid. “We hold that the HC was clearly in error in reversing the well-reasoned finding recorded by the trial court,” the top court judges in their verdict recorded.


  1. Dear sir,
    I would like to have your legal opinion on the below matter. We are 3 brothers and 3 sisters to our parents., father expired in the year 2000. And one of my brother is also expired in 2005.
    My father was ex – Military and my mother is a housewife now getting family pension on his behalf. in the year 1980 my father purchased a property of 81 cents and an old house and registered it jointly with my Mother.
    After my father expired in the year 2000., And he has not written any will to our knowledge.
    one of my sister took this opportunity and stayed along with my mother. –
    Now, quite recently a few days back, we came to know that my mother has registered a will giving the entire share of her property and the house ( 50% of the property + 2 shares from my father’s share of the property – a total of almost 64% of the entire property. This has been registed in the year 2003 ( one year before my other brother expired in a road accident in the year 2005
    Since my mother was not working and earning, does she have the right to will the property of her 50% share ??. It’s quite natural that the property was purchased from my father’ earnings, as well as the financial assistance he received from my elder brother who was working that time.
    Many of the things are also wrongly declared in the will – like her all other sons and daughters have houses and settled etc. Our request to our mother is to share the house to another sister who is not having any financial capacity to buy a house and settle in Kerala. All our efforts to pacify our mother failed. And her contention is that since my sister who is staying with her is not having any child all the property will come to us in a later date after her death.
    The property is 81 cents of land and a house. The house were renovated during my father’s time with my elder brother’s money. All along we supported my mother well all the time. But when we came to know this behaviour of our mother we are really surprised and stunned.
    We are also afraid that my sister must have black mailed her by telling our mother that she will suicide if she does not give her the property.
    What do we do in this case. I would like to receive a legal opionin.

    Best regards,

  2. Dear sir,
    We have three brothers and one sister,i dont want my parents property ,my father is arguing the same thing in righting.
    kindly send the format any thing you have


  3. dear sir,
    i have two brother totally we are three brother three sister. there is a home which is registered to my mother name. now she want to give this property to two brothers only. because a brother is out of under control of my mother with her wife.
    so can it be possible by legal.

  4. Ma grand father not givin a single pic of property 2 ma father , he is givin 2 his girl children an nothin 2 boys , ma grndpa has 3 girl an 3 boys totaly 6 , we need justis , coz be4 20 year back nobody had money with thm , tht time ma father was workin abrod , so ma father was to the hole family , wtever he earnd he give it to thm ma grandpa an bro an sis , but nw ma father fully loss , no one is ready to help him , if we ll go to court cn get justis


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