State Family Law

					                                       FAMILY LAW II
                                            2008-2009
                                       PROJECT TOPICS

Please register topics with me personally to avoid the confusion of the last trimester. I will
follow a first come first served policy. A rough idea about the topic has been given to help you
select the topic. If you want to select a topic not on this list, do confirm with me. I can be
contacted at sarasu@nls.ac.in Do not be deterred by the scanty material available. That is true
for most topics on this list. The teacher reserves the right to allow more than one student to
take up the same topic.

SLNO.                TOPIC                         A ROUGH IDEA ABOUT THE TOPIC
   1.          Private Property and           The development of the idea of private property and
                   Inheritance               how rules of inheritance grew in different parts of the
                                                     world/IndiaJ a particular place/State

   2       Community Property versus            How are needs of individuals and dependents best
                    Succession               served? How would exclusion affect weaker sections?
   3.      Persons with Disabilities and            What disabilities debarred a person from
                Rights. to Property               inheriting/holding property? Right to gift /will
   4.     Conflict of Laws & Succession      In a world where persons change citizenship/domicile
                                            etc how does one determine which law would apply to
                                                                   what property
   5.      Duty to maintain and heirship      How closely are these two concepts linked in various
                                                                   personal laws
   6.     Agricultural Property and          Agriculture is in the State List and personal laws in the
          Succession                          concurrent, what is the law applicable to Agricultural
                                                     Property? A look at one/more examples
   7.     Dwelling House                     Restrictions on rights of daughters, proposed changes
                                               and the social necessity of providing a roof over the
                                                             heads of family members
   8.     Adoption and Succession               The importance of sonship . Rights of adopted and
                                             biological children Rights of children'Adopted' under
                                                           the Guardians and Wards Act
   9.     Custom and Property Rights        Customs which deprive certain persons of rights. Using
                                                 custom proactively to protect different forms of
                                                               ownership of property
  10.     Dynamic Hindu Succession          A wide look at Acts Modifying/Supplementing Classical
          Law                                                       Hindu Law
  11 .    Intestate Succession to a Hindu            A critical look at heirs of a Hindu Male
          Male
  12.     Intestate Succession to a          A critical look from a gender perspective at heirs of a
          Hindu Female                                              Hindu Female
  13.     The Limited Estate                A Provision for widows/women. Does it continue or has
                                                                 it become extinct?
  14.     The Joint Family as a Business    Merits and demerits as a form of business organization,
          Institution                              coparcenaries and the Karta, tax implications
  15.     The end of the Joint Family?       With changes in the Law, is the Joint family on its last
                                                               lap or will it continue?
  16.     Kinds of Property                     A Conceptual understanding of different kinds of
                                                  property and how they are to be treated in law
  17.     Dayabhaga System                  Now extinct, but does the present system incorporate its
                                                                    main features?
  18.     Notional Partition                Is it a partition or a fiction and what is the character of
                                                           the property as a consequence
19.       Conversion and Confusion            Conversion impacts succession in many ways. A
                                              Critical took at this in the light of the freedom of
                                                               religion guarantee
20.       Coparcenors                    A wide look at these strange creatures- their coming into
                                                       existence, rights and entitlements
21.       The Karta                      A critical look at this all powerful entity his position and
                                                                    his powers
22.       Minors                           A look at provisions dealing with minor coparcenors
                                           and the treatment of minors property across all laws-
                                              alienation of minors property, minor as karta etc
23.       Pious Obligation                   Its rigour in the past, the position now, priority of
                                                                    payments.
24.       Gains of Science or Learning     Is there any obligation today to give back to the Joint
                                                                     Family?
25.       Partition                        How is it effected? Safeguards to be kept in mind by
                                                         coparcenors and third parties
26.       Alienation                     One of the most litigated areas of Joint Family Property.
                                           Grounds for alienation, who can challenge, rights of
                                                                   third parties
27.       Third party vs heirs             Third parties particularly bona fide purchasers meet
                                               obstacles from heirs in many ways-preemption,
                                          maintenance charges, accounts for profits, challenge to
                                              alienations etc- a study of the position of laws in
                                                     different laws relating to succession
28.       Reopening and Revision of        What are the exceptional cases where this is allowed?
          Partition                                   What are the problems if allowed?
29.       Doctrine of Blending              When is a coparceners property created by his own
                                           effort deemed to be apart ofjoint family property and
                                                              when is it separate?
30        Stridhana                       Once the only property of some Hindu women, does it
                                           still hold some relevance today in law and in society?
31.       Acts Inter vivos                Validity of certain inter vivos acts in different personal
                                          laws- gifts, alienation for value, benefit of estate, legal
                                                                  necessity etc.
32.       Wills and Coparcenary               Can a person will away his share in coparcenary
          Property                       property? Pros and cons of such a step from the point of
                                                      view of the HUF/Gender Concerns
.,.,
..)..).   The Kerala Experiment              Unique in its abolishing the joint family and in its
                                            matrilineal history, should this model be replicated?
34.       Women as Coparcenors             The revolutionary amendments in the southern states
                                                      and at the Centre in the last decade
35        Hindu Religious and               The law relating to this and issues such as who may
          Charitable Endowments            make, valid purpose, process, certainty of subject and
                                           object. A little bit of history too or a case study if the
                                                                 student wishes
36.       Maths & Devasthanas                 Administration and management. How, who can
                                         administer, checks on abuse of powers if any. A student
                                                     may do a case study if he/she wishes
37.       Impact of wills on Personal        When and why was it permitted? To what extent?
          Laws                              Can a Muslim will away his/her property? Are wills
                                         being used to deprive 'legitimate heirs' of their property.
38.       Privileged Wills               What are the special circumstances under which they are
                                                      allowed? How are they executed?
39.       Unprivileged Wills                Step by Step study from creation, common mistakes
                                          people make upto the point when heirs get the property
40.   Construction of Wills           Description of common problems/mistakes in wills and
                                                                  codicils
41.   Christian Law of Succession     A critical look at Christian law plus a review of some of
                                                        the historical milestones
42.   Mary Roy and After                A Look at Mary Roys Case, and how it has impacted
                                                  Christian women's rights to property
43.   Parsi Law of Intestate             Is it the most beneficial to women? Some historical
      Succession                                    milestones too must be looked at
44.   A history of Muslim Law in       How did Muslim Law become part of the Indian Legal
      India: Succession Law               system? How far is Sharia applicable to matters of
                                      succession? How has statutory law/custom impacted the
                                                           appl ication of Sharia
45.   Exclusion from inheritance           Traditionally certain persons were excluded from
                                       inheritance in different personal laws. Who were they?
                                              What exclusions survive in the present day.
46.   Hanafi Law of Intestate           An understanding of the system of law governing the
      Succession                                        bulk of Muslims in India
47.   Shia Law of Intestate               Though not a numerous as Hanafis (Sunnis), their
      Succession                              (Shias) numbers in India are significant. An
                                                     understanding of the Shia law
48.   Shia and Sunni Law of           Though both are based on Sharia there are differences-
      Intestate Succession: A                    what are these and why did they happen
      Comparison
49    Law relating to Gifts            How far is it applicable to Indian Muslims? Types of
                                      gifts and rules applicable. Would they apply in the case
                                      of one of the parties being a non Muslim. (Gifts here do
                                                not include death bed gifts/bequests)
50.   Marz ul maut                         Muslim law relating to deathbed gifts/bequests

51.   Deathbed bequests                Neither a gift nor a bequest? Position of such bequests
                                                             and rationale.
52.   Preemption                          The right of some persons to have the first right
                                         (Preemptive right) to buy property which is being
                                       alienated. Evolution of this right in different systems
                                                  and its continued relevance today.
53.   Uniform Civil Code and               Is this feasible or are there unbridgeable gaps
      Succession Laws
54.   Wasiyat                         Muslims Wills - capacity, formalities, object and subject
                                      of legacy, execution etc. Modification by laws in India
55.   Wakf versus Trusts                 Comparing the two forms from the point of view of
                                                           benefit to heirs etc
56    Wakfs                             A look at wakfs created for charitable, religious and
                                       other purposes and the law relating to wakfs over time
57.   The Constitution of India and    A comparative look at different laws on succession in
      Succession                          the light of constitutional safeguards particularly
                                      equality, special provisions for women and children and
                                                          freedom of religion
58.   Kinship Rules                   A comparison of rules in different personal laws in
                                      computing degrees of kinship and determining closeness
                                      of kin. Students may in the alternative do 'Kinship
                                      Rules & Patriarchy'
59.   Matriarchy and Matriliny        Examples from India and lor across the globe. How do
                                      property relations work in such systems
60.   Illegitimacy                    An illegitimate concept- Should it be done away with?
                                      Determination of paternity and treatment of illegitimate
                                        children in personal and secular laws
61.   Cohabitees                        A look at some legal situations across the globe which
                                        gives to partners some rights in succession
62.   Joint Wills                       Wills made jointly are bound by some special and
                                        peculiar rules ... or are they?
63.   Succession laws among Tribals     Some of these laws have special protection and tribals
                                        do not come within the purview of 'Hindus', why is
                                        this protection given? Examples or a case study would
                                        be useful
64.   Simultaneous deaths and           Some personal laws are clear, some are not. How
      Succession                        useful/relevant would forensic evidence be? Who would
                                        have to pursue the matter. How?
65.   The State and the deceased        Loopholes in the law which allow the State to claim in
                                        the presence of living relatives. Escheat, priority of
                                        states claims
66.   Administration of Estate of the   How is this done? What payments are to be made in
      Deceased                          what order? Is the position different under different
                                        personal laws/secular Law
67.   Impartible Estate                 Some Property by their very nature cannot be divided.
                                        How are these different kinds of property and impartible
                                        estates treated?
68.   Primogeniture                     The impact of this rule on India and other parts of the
                                        globe. How relevant was and is it in various facets of
                                        personal law. Other' forms such as ultimogeniture
      Life interest and the rule        How far can a person continue to control his property
69.   against perpetuity                from his grave? What is the rationale against property
                                        without an owner
70.   Intention of the Testator         A look at judicial decisions to see what courts and
                                        statutory law have used to deternline intention of the
                                        testator.
71.   Onerous bequests / conditions     Imposing liabilities on heirs as a prerequisite to
      precedent/subsequent              claiming property. How far is it justified in the Indian
                                        context? Is it related to the doctrine of pious obligation?
72.   Principle of representation       How far does one kin represent another- a comparison
                                        of personal and secular laws
73.   Remedies of an heir               What are the different remedies available to an heir
                                        who feels he has not received his rightful share to the
                                        property
74.   The Unborn Child                  Rights of the unborn child to property, to challenge
                                        alienations, partitions etc. Rationale and justification.
75.   The Doctrine of Relating Back     A child adopted by a Hindu widow was considered a
      and property law                  child of her husband. Does this doctrine survive after
                                        the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act? What is its
                                        relevance today?
76.   Unifornl Succession Code          Frame a uniform succession code which will be
                                        acceptable to all communities, difficulties which may
                                        be encountered, constitutional and other arguments,
                                        looking at Goa
77.   Succession Laws in Practice       Looking at property held by different groups of people,
                                        field study
78.   Right to food and property        Is there a right to food? Is it connected to property
      rights                            rights? A look at private, community property as well
                                        as succession laws in agrarian community(ties)
79.   Women's perceptions of            Looking at women's perceptions of succession and
      Succession                        whether they have a right, whether they will enforce
                                            their right through a survey of existing literature and a
                                            field study. Influence of community elders/leaders and
                                            family 'values' on such perceptions
  80.    Alternate Dispute Resolution       Procedure in court, use of other methods to settle
         and Succession Law                 succession disputes, enforceability of agreements
                                            within the family
  81.    Daughters & Succession -a          Do daughters in KamatakaiTamil
         field study                        NaduIKeralaiMaharashtra have the same rights as sons
                                            do after progressive legislation put in place? Looking at
                                            trends in anyone State
  82.    Recent amendments to Hindu         Looking at the changes in Hindu law in the last couple
         law                                of years and its probable impact upon rights of women
  83.    Role of custom in succession       Does law give custom a scope to operate in? what
                                            customs are protected? One or more case studies.
                                            Custom versus uniformity.
  84.    The Spouse as an heir in India     Comparative project looking at the position of husbands
                                            and wives as heirs of each other, rationale for the
                                            present rules and their historical basis in India as well
                                            as common law.
  85.    The spouse as an heir- lessons     Looking at how the law treats spouses as heirs from
         from around the world              examples around the world. Look at different
                                            jurisdictions and see what would be a useful addition in
                                            the Indian context. No need to look at Indian laws in
                                            detail.
  86.    Marriage as a basis for heirship   A critical look at marriage and succession laws.
                                            Recognition of other relationships and partnerships-
                                            heterosexual and homosexual, concubinage, bigamous
                                            marriages
  87.    Testamentary Successsion and       Procedure to be followed after a person dies leaving a
         Procedural law                     will. Problems which may arise, differences in personal
                                            laws if any. Restrictions imposed by personal laws
                                            which must be followed. Suggestions for modifications
                                            in procedures if any
  88.    Jewish Law on Succession           Examining traditional laws, present law in Israel and
                                            what the position in India is.
  89.    Tribal law : Succession and        Looking at the special position occupied by tribal laws.
         related matters                    Examining one or more specific tribal laws to see how
                                            property devolves even if it is not succession in the
                                            strict sense.
  90.    Daughter and her descendants       Comparative study of personal laws, historical to see
         in succession laws                 position of daughter and changes if any over time.
  91.    Social responsibilities of         What purpose do they serve, how does law treat them,
         reI igious and charitable          how are there checks and balances on powers etc.
         institutions
  92.    Adoption & Succession              What does the law say, what must adoptive and other
                                            'parents' keep in mind, international standards,
                                            childcare.
  93.   Church property                     How is it held, checks and balances, older institutions
                                            versus newer ones.
  94.   Reform in Muslim Law of             Critique of existing law and lessons from around the
        Succession                          world.

Sarasu Esther Thomas
Course Coordinator
Family Law II