Women have been subject to bias in property matters. Woman’s day is an opportunity to ponder over such inequalities and initiate measures for empowering women about their property rights.
Today women are financially independent. Our legal system recognizes their rights in the property as independent owners. The Government has given many relaxations like lower stamp duty rates, to encourage women ownership.
In India various factors govern the rights of a woman:
- Marital status
- Property is ancestral, inherited or self-acquired
- Property is parental or belongs to her in-laws or husband
- Personal laws applicable to a woman
- Rights of woman as a daughter, wife or mother
Read More: Indian Women’s Right to Property
Property Rights of Women as daughter, mother, wife:
- A daughter is a coparcener. She has equal rights in the ancestral property of her father, as her brother, even if she is married.
- As a wife, a woman has equal right in the property of her husband as other legal heirs.
- A daughter in law has no right in the property of her father in law till the time her husband is alive. After the husband’s death, she gets a right in the share which her husband is entitled to get.
- A woman who gets the property by any mode: gift, Will or inheritance, she becomes the absolute owner and is free to deal with it.
- In the case of intestate succession, a widow has equal right in the property of her husband as her children. A widowed mother also has an equal share in the property of her son as other legal heirs.
- The wife from the second marriage has the same rights in the property of her husband as the first wife. The second marriage must be valid under the law.
- The children (daughter and son) of the second wife are treated at par with the children of the first wife to inherit from the self-acquired property of their father. They do not get right in the ancestral property.
- The right of women in agriculture land needs a separate mention. These rights depend upon customary practices and personal laws. After the amendment of 2005 in the Hindu Succession Act, women are at par with men in the inheritance of agriculture land. But some States do not follow the amendment, and the bias continues.
Read More: Property Rights of Women as per Hindu Law
Property rights under Muslim Law are based on personal laws and customs. If a Muslim woman inherits property, she becomes the absolute owner of her share. In inheritance, she gets half the share of what male heir gets.
If a Muslim woman wants to make a Will of her property, she cannot give away more than one-third share of her property, and if her husband is the only heir, she can give two-third share by Will.
For faiths other than Muslims and Hindus, the property rights of woman are mostly fair in terms of gender divisions.