Inheritance of Widow under Shia Law

Inheritance of Widow under Shia Law Case Laws Civil Law Inheritance Knowledge - Civil Law Litigation & Arbitration Solutions - Civil Law Supreme Court Mr. Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali in his judgment has decided the issue regarding inheritance of widow under Shia Law in Civil Appeal No. 2133 of 2006.

1. This appeal by leave of the Court arises out of the judgment dated 24.10.2001 in Civil Revision No.2239/2000, passed by learned single Judge in chambers of the Lahore High Court, Lahore, whereby the said Civil Revision was allowed, concurrent findings of the two Courts below, challenged therein were set aside, and accordingly the suit for declaration and change of mutation filed by the respondents was decreed.

2. Briefly stated, relevant facts of the case are that on 24.07.1995, Respondent Nos. 1 and 2, being son and daughter of late Nasir Hussain, instituted a declaratory suit against their real mother, Mst. Noor Bibi (Appellant No.1), and their brother, Zulfiqar Ali (Appellant No.2), in respect of agricultural land measuring 45 Kanal 14 Marla, out of total land measuring 76 Kanal 4 Marla, bearing Khasra Nos. 92, 124, 125, 126, 127, 621/128, 134, 135, 193, 194, 195, 634/280, 307, 308 and 309, Khewit No.13, Khatooni No.14 according to Jamabandi for the year 1992-93, situated at village Gurri, Bhoora, Tehsil and District Sialkot. Their claim was based on the assertions thattheir father, Nasir Hussain, had died five years ago, whereafter Inheritance Mutation No.181 dated 24.01.1994 was attested in favour of his legal heirs according to which, Mst. Noor Bibi, widow of deceased, got 1/8 share, Ghulam Qamar and Zulfiqar Ali, sons, got 4/5 and Mst. Razia Bibi, daughter, got 1/5 out of 7/8. Late Nasir Hussain belonged to Shia faith, wherein a widow is not entitled to any share in the immovable property (lands) owned by her deceased husband. Further, according to Shia law of inheritance, Ghulam Qamar and Zulfiqar Ali, sons should have been given 4/5 share each and Mst. Razia Bibi, daughter should have been given 1/5 share, whereas the widow of Nasir Hussain (deceased) was not entitled to 1/8 share.

3. The suit was contested by the parties, issues were framed, evidence was recorded, and vide judgment dated 15.11.1997, it was dismissed with the observation that the widow, as per Shia law of inheritance, being mother of two sons and a daughter, not being a childless widow, was entitled to inherit legal share from the legacy of her deceased husband, Nasir Hussain.

4. The appeal under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, filed by respondents against the judgment of the Trial Court of learned Senior Civil Judge, Sialkot, before the Court of Additional District Judge, Sialkot on 12.12.1996, was dismissed vide judgment dated 01.03.2000, with the conclusion that the findings of the Civil Court, that the widow of deceased Nasir Hussain, being mother of two sons and a daughter, was not a childless widow and thus entitled to her legal share under Shia law of inheritance, were unexceptionable.

5. Against these concurrent findings of the two Courts below, the respondents then preferred Civil Revision under Section 115 C.P.C. before the Lahore High Court, Lahore, on 13.06.2000, which was heard and allowed vide impugned judgment dated 24.10.2001 with reference to the application of ratio of judgment in the case of Syed Muhammad Munir v. Abu Nasar, Member (Judicial) Board of Revenue, Punjab Lahore and 7 others (PLD 1972 SC 346).

6. We have heard arguments of the learned ASC for the appellants, while respondents have chosen to remain absent.

7. In his submissions, the learned ASC for the appellants briefly stated admitted facts of the case that Appellant No.1 is widow of late Nasir Hussain and real mother of Zulfiqar Ali (Appellant No.2), Ghulam Qamar (Respondent No.1) and Mst. Razia Bibi (Respondent No.2). Nasir Hussain had expired five years prior to the filing of suit, leaving behind amongst others some agricultural lands as detailed in Paragraph No.1 of the plaint. Therefore, keeping in view that parties were governed by Shia law of inheritance, the two Courts below have rightly held the Appellant No.1 entitled to her share from the estate (lands) of late Nasir Hussain as in her capacity as widow, but the High Court misinterpreted and wrongly applied the ratio of judgment in Syed Muhammad Munir’s case (supra), while equating the claim of Appellant No.1 to that of a childless widow, which is admittedly not the position in the present case.

Further information for inheritance of widow under Shia Law can be solicited from AUJ LAWYERS. Feel free to contact us in case you need any clarification and/or require legal assistance regarding similar matters.