Petition to Conduct CBI Enquiry into Murder of Dr J A Mathan

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Political succession a family matter in India: The Principle of Primogeniture is redundant

The answers of erstwhile Royals (Gayatri devi's extended family) is that they are no longer 'ROYALTY of India' as defined by the Government of India by the abolition of Royal Titles act. Everyone (including women) are entitled by law to receive equal inheritance since 1956.

However, the second issue is that Royal Hindu males with many wives, will have to leave their wealth to their FIRST WIVES, and the other wives are considered CONCUBINES.

My sweet concubine, anyone?

Political succession a family matter in India: The Principle of Primogeniture is redeundant
7 September 2009
Last week, ‘Tiger of Cuddapah’ Y S Rajasekhara Reddy met with a tragic end while at the peak of his political career. His death has spun a familiar, all too familiar, story of political succession that happens only on the great Indian political theatre.

India has witnessed this many a time. Strangely, people more or less expect this to happen. And the battle for political succession starts even before the first fistful of earth is put on the coffin or the pyre is lit. The cub of the ‘Tiger of Cuddapah’ is readying to play his role in this interesting succession drama set to unfold in the coming weeks.

Succession is an emotive, complex and often bitter exercise experienced by a normal bereaved Indian household, when the deceased leaves behind a fortune. Royalty and politicos, barring exceptions, have not been immune to this.

The principle of primogeniture or the royal mode of succession, that is the eldest getting the cake and eating it too, was abandoned after codification of the Hindu law and coming into force of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This was pointed out by the Supreme Court in Bhaiya Ramanuj Pratap Deo vs Lalu Maheshanuj Pratap Deo & Ors [1982 SCR (1) 417].

Bhaiya Rudra Pratap Deo was the holder of Nagaruntari estate in Palamau district of Bihar. The succession to the estate was governed by the rule of lineal primogeniture. Under the said rule, the eldest male member of the eldest line was to succeed to the estate while the junior members were entitled only to maintenance grants.

When a succession war broke out between the heirs, the apex court had ruled, ‘‘A bare perusal of Section 4 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 indicates that any custom or usage as part of Hindu law in force will cease to have effect after the enforcement of Hindu Succession Act with respect to any matter for which provision is made in the Act. If rule of lineal primogeniture in Nagaruntari estate is a customary one it will certainly cease to have effect, even though it was part of Hindu law.’’

But politics is quite different. Crown princes continue to be shepherded into politics by parents already successful in politics. Their entry onto the big political theatre is stage-managed without them having to waddle through the political grime, which often leaves most ticket aspirants dejected. But the family legacy helps them win and become an MLA or MP.

It’s no fault of the crown princes to be born to successful politicians. It’s also not the fault of parents to indulge their children and do everything possible to secure them a small corner on a big political stage. And it’s definitely not the fault of the electorate to dote upon the crown princes, for smooth successions have always been close to the hearts of Indian masses.

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