Hindu Succession Act: NRI Women Right in the Ancestral Property
Gone are the days when Indian women faced discrimination in matters of property ownership rights. Earlier, married women have had inadequate rights to their parental property, and the widows were constantly at the mercy of their sons. This is changing now. Although the change is slow but is highly welcomed.
Hindu Succession Act, 1956
Property related concerns of Hindus are governed by the Hindu personal law. Hindu Succession Act, 1956 under the Hindu personal law governs the succession norms in a Hindu Family. According to section 2 of the Act, the law is applicable to people of Hindu Religion, including the members of different sects and samajs. The same law continues to the Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains although they are not governed by the Hindu Law.
Right of women to ancestral property under Hindu Succession Act, 1956
- According to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 of the Hindu Personal Law, a daughter was not to be a coparcener in the ancestral property. She could acquire the property only when given as a gift or granted by the will. Only the male heirs of the family had the right to inherit the property.
- In case of death of a male Hindu who is survived by a wife, mother and daughters, then the property transfer will not take place according to the survivorship however through the intestate or testamentary succession.
- Female member had no right to demand the partition of the property. Although the right to a residence was granted to the daughters, if they are either separated or a widow or unmarried, i.e. is dependent on her parents.
But this changed with the introduction of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.
With the changing time and increasing emphasis on Women Empowerment, India was in the dreadful need of change in the succession policies. Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 is a landmark in the government’s effort in the field of women empowerment. It reiterated the fact that women are an equal member of society and should be made to depend on others.
A right of women to ancestral property under Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005
- Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 grants equal rights to the daughter in the ancestral property. They are entitled to equal coparcenary in the ancestral properties like the male members of the family.
- This right is available to a daughter irrespective of her marital status, i.e the daughter does not cease to be a coparcener in the ancestral property after her marriage.
- Only a coparcener can demand the partition of the property. And since the daughter is also the coparcener in the ancestral property, she too can demand partition.
- The daughter has not just been granted the rights, but also the liabilities equal to that of the male members.