Gender Rights: Tamil Star Sivaji Ganesan’s Daughters Fight Sons for Inheritance
Daughters of Kollywood veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan have filed a civil suit in Madras High Court over inheritance.
The daughters of Kollywood veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan have filed a civil suit at the Madras High Court accusing their brothers of fraud. However, the property dispute where the daughters – Santhi Narayanasamy and Rajvi Govindarajan – have accused the sons – actor Prabhu and producer Ramkumar – of cheating them of their rightful inheritance, has not got public attention.
Sivaji Ganesan, who had ruled the Tamil film industry for over five decades, passed away in 2001.
The Quint has accessed the complaint copy filed before the High Court on 19 November 2021 to detail out the inheritance dispute over properties worth Rs 270.60 crores.
As per the 2005 Amendment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 all children, irrespective of gender, are rightful owners of the parents' property.
The 2005 Amendment essentially removed the gender discriminatory provisions regarding property rights in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and balanced the property rights of male and female siblings.
'Cease Selling, Encumbering, Transferring or Encumbering Property'
In the plaint filed on 19 November 2021, Ganesan's daughters, Santhi Narayanasamy (67) and Rajvi Govindarajan (63) accused their brothers Ramkumar Ganesan (66), Ganesan Prabhu (66), and their sons, Dushyanth Ramkumar Ganesan (39) and Vikram Prabhu (39) of mismanagement. They have also accused the brothers of denying them their rightful property share.
The daughters argued that as per the Hindu Succession Act, all four children are entitled to one fourth of the share of all properties. However, they’ve been refused their legitimate share.
Sivaji Ganesan married Kamala on 1 May 1952 and had four children. His younger son Prabhu is a noted Tamil actor and his elder son Ramkumar takes care of the film production company Sivaji Productions. Prabhu's son Vikram Prabhu and Ramkumar's son Dushyant Ramkumar are Tamil film actors.
“Sivaji Ganesan was an affectionate father and he loved his two daughters and two sons. Sivaji Ganesan was never intended to disinterest his daughters," read the plaint.
The daughters alleged that they “did not doubt the action” of their brothers “who had a stronger bargaining capacity and were looking after the affairs and estates left by their parents" at first. But they were "shocked" to see some properties being sold without their consent, they have pleaded.
A legal notice has been sent asking the brothers to “desist from selling, alienating, transferring, or encumbering any part of the land or properties.”
Daughters: 'Not Told About Sale of Properties'
The daughters alleged that they were never informed of sale of properties and transfer of shares to their brothers. The daughters clarified that most of the properties listed were acquired and owned by their father as he had a “strong independent source of income.”
The daughters alleged that the four houses owned by their family in Royapettah are under the possession of Ramkumar and Prabhu who are also receiving rents from the tenants. They had neglected to pay the share of the rent owed to the daughters, despite repeated requests, they alleged.
The Quint has reached out to Prabhu and Ramkumar but did not get a comment. The article will be updated when they respond.
The plaint also questioned why they were denied their legitimate share in the agricultural lands and other properties, worth two crores, that belonged to their mother’s ancestral land, Soorakkottai village in Thanjavur.
They alleged that citing massive debt, on 20 December 2018, the daughters were made to sign on the settlement deed to sell the house in Gopalapuram to settle a loan of Rs 5 crores borrowed by the sons.
They also alleged that the sons usurped their father’s possessions including 1,000 sovereigns of gold ornaments studded with diamonds and 500 kilos of silver utensils, worth 10 crores.
In October 2021, the daughters found out that the shares held by their parents in Shanthi theatres, worth 82 crores, were transferred to the sons, without the knowledge or consent of the daughters.
Daughters: 'Sivaji Ganesan’s Will Was Fabricated'
As per the plaint, in June 2013, the sons allegedly approached their sisters and made them sign a ‘Deed of General Power of Attorney’ and also some blank papers. The daughters said that they “were made to believe that the said papers and documents would be used for the consolidation and development of the properties” and that “proper accounts relating to the property transactions” will be shared with them.
In a reply notice to the daughters in 2021, the sons stated that the movable properties including jewellery, shares on Shanthi Theatre and Shivaji Films Ltd and bank deposits have been disbursed among the family members as per Ganesan's will.
The daughters have contended in the plaint that Ganesan’s will, executed on 23 June 1999, was allegedly "fabricated."
“The said will is a concocted document fabricated” by the sons “with the oblique motive of defeating the legitimate rights” of the daughters, the complaint read.
"If there is an authentic will in place, then the properties will be divided based on the person's will. But in the absence of the will, the partition will be equal and no one can be denied their legitimate shares. A girl has an equal share from the time of her birth," said Vakasha Sachdev, advocate and Legal Correspondent with The Quint. The daughters have requested the court’s intervention to dictate the portion of properties legally, to deem the sale deeds executed in 2004 and 2005 to be invalid.
The Quint reached out to the the sons and daughters and haven't received a response yet. This article will be updated to include their response if they get back to The Quint.
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