Why Full Blood Preferred to Half Blood under Hindu Succession Act?

Section 18 provides that “Heirs related to an intestate by full blood shall be preferred to heirs by half blood, if the nature of relationship is the same in every other respect.” The Section lays down a rule of general applicability to heirs male and female alike.

But the rule will apply only when the nature of relationship is the same according to every mode or manner affecting its nature and the rules of preference laid down in the Act for determination of the order of succession.

The rule will not apply where the competing heirs are a full brother’s son and a half brother or half sister of a male intestate. The full brother’s son is not related to intestate equally with them in every respect. The full brother’s son comes under Entry III of class II of the Schedule whereas the half brother and half sister are heirs specified in Entry II and therefore entitled to be preferred irrespective of their being related to the intestate by half blood.

The words “full blood” and “half blood” have been explained in Section 2(e) of the Act. Two persons are said to be related to each other by full blood when they are descended from a common ancestor by the same wife, and half blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different wives.

Thus where one of the heirs is agnate and the other is a cognate or one of the heir belongs to class I of the Schedule and the other belongs to the category of class II heirs, the above rule would not apply. Similarly where the degrees of ascent and descent are not the same under Section 13 of the Act, the Section will not apply. It is noteworthy that the rule under the present section is the substantial reproduction of old Hindu law.

The relatives related by full blood shall be preferred to those related by half blood. The section does not make any discrimination between male and female heirs provided they are descendants of the same degree.

The Bombay High Court in the case of Vamam Govinda Shindor v. Gopal Babu Chakradeo overruled Purushottam Raman Gokhale v. Srivad Ram Chandra and held where the question of succession between the real sister and cousin sister arises, the real sister (sister by full blood) would exclude the cousin (sister by half blood). Where the male and female heirs are of the same degree, no descrimination shall be made and they will inherit the property together and divide equally.

Similarly in Narayan v. Puspa Ranjini, the Kerala High Court held that where there is question of succession between sister by full blood and brother by half blood, the sister by full blood shall exclude the brother by half blood.

A maternal uncle by full blood has been held to be a preferential heir to a maternal uncle by half blood. Uncle by full blood shall be preferred to uncle by half blood to inherit the property.