< Back to other cases

SWEETY VS. GENERAL PUBLIC

Read the full judgement here
citation:

MANU/HP/1242/2016

court:

High Court of Himachal Pradesh

judges:

Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan

KEY FACTS:

This case dealt with the question of succession for “eunuchs” (sic) who are part of the Guru-Chela system. Sweety, a guru, filed a case in the lower courts to claim the property of her chela, Rajia, who had died.

In this case, the lower court held that the mode of succession was governed by The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (“the Act”). Sweety appealed this judgement in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh.

ISSUES & DECISION:

Within the Guru-Chela system, the guru is the legal heir to the chela’s property. The High Court first deliberated on why “the Act” had at all been invoked in the lower court judgement. Rajia’s identity documents made it apparent that Sweety was her guru.

The Court referred to the legal recognition of third gender persons in NALSA v Union of India. It reiterated third gender persons’ entitlement to legal and constitutional protection. It also referred to Ilyas vs. Badshah alias Kamla, to argue in favour of the custom of succession within the Guru-Chela system.

SIGNIFICANCE

The order recognised property inheritance customs within the Guru-Chela system, regardless of a person’s religious identity.