When women marry and join a new family, the question of property rights and other economic rights provided to them under various Indian legislation becomes even more complicated.
There is no uniformity regarding the property rights of women in India because the country is home to several religions without a Uniform Civil Code and each religion is controlled by its personal laws.
These rights are exempt from the constitutional guarantee of equality and fairness and based on many variables, including religion, geography, community, the status of the woman in the family, such as daughter, wife, or mother, their marital status, such as married or unmarried, deserted, or widow, and the type of property, such as ancestral or self-acquired, land, dwelling house, or matrimonial property.
Following the 174th Law Commission Report’s recommendations, the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (hence referred to as the 2005 Amendment) was passed and made significant modifications to the 1956 Act. These amendments are described further below. It is a significant step toward eliminating gender inequity in India.
The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 stipulated the following for Hindu women’s property rights in India:
Property rights as a Mother
- The mother has the right to receive maintenance from her children, who can support her since she is the first heir (Class I) under the Inheritance Law.
- Without a will, if a woman passes away, her property will be shared equally among all of her children, regardless of their gender.
- She still has the freedom to sell half of the property, however, she sees fit.
- A widowed mother is entitled to an equal part as her son in a joint household.
Property rights as a Daughter
- Presently, a daughter and a son both can inherit a father’s possession. Her claim to a portion of her mother’s fortune is also secured.
- Gender discrimination is not allowed, according to the 2005 modification of the Hindu Succession Act. The daughter was given many additional privileges under the amendment.
- Equal obligations apply to her and the son.
She more significantly has-
- Similar privileges and the same portion as the sons will be granted,
- If she is divorced, widowed, or abandoned, the right to dwell there shall remain.
- Right to the property she has acquired over her lifetime, whether via work, gifts, or inheritance.
- the freedom to decide how she wants to dispose of her share: through a will, a gift, or a sale
Property rights as a Married Woman
- A married woman is the only inheritor of her husband’s assets and is still fully entitled to all property that has been acquired, given to her, or left to her by will. She does not have the legal right to request help from her relatives with the upkeep of the property she inherits from her spouse.
- When it comes to paternal property, a married woman only has the claim to it if the father passed away after 2005.
Essentially, a married woman acquires the right-
- Without anybody’s intervention, to give what she possesses to anyone in part or in full.
- To get maintenance from her spouse and to be able to afford a place to live.
- In a joint family, the woman has a right to financial assistance and housing for the family. She is entitled to a portion in the event of her husband’s passing, along with his mother and children, and in the event of family dissolution, she will be given a share that is fair to any other family member.
Women are expected to portray a variety of roles with equal ease, and they frequently do so. She possesses the qualities of fortitude, patience, love, and compassion in all of her roles—whether as a mother, wife, or daughter. The least we can do is assure her place in society and increase her sense of future security, even if we might not be able to define and assign a value to her function in society.
In terms of women’s rights, property has been a key source of controversy. Women’s property rights have not received much attention in India. Instead, they have been ignored. The situation has gradually improved due to modernization and rising knowledge, and we can now discuss “equality” in this area more.
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