Indian Women’s Right to Property – Changing status & acceptance in Society

Indian Women's Right to Property

 A strong bias against women in matters related to assets/asset distribution is something we are all familiar with. Women have particularly faced issues about the rules that govern the succession/inheritance of property amongst the members of a family.

Indian history is proof that men have exclusively benefitted from these property laws. The women were treated as weak and helpless, characterised by depending on the support from men.

With the passage of time, the Law Commission, therefore, recognised the need for change after realising that the property rights are vital for the development and the freedom of women.

In its 174th Report, the Law Commission finally recommended some amendments in the Property Laws. These modifications were implemented in The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 along with some other more beneficial adjustments.

The details of the property that a woman can now attain after the changes are:

  • ownership acquired by inheritance, adverse possession, or from other sources
  • assets purchased with savings of an income of ‘Stridhana’
  • bequests and gifts from known people or strangers
  • assets obtained on partition or by compromise

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 replaced the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 giving a daughter the right to be a coparcener. It allowed the daughter to become a coparcener by birth in the same manner as the sons are. It also enabled her to have equal powers in the property as any son would have.

The reforms have ensured that the daughter is also allotted the same share as a son. The ownership of the pre-deceased son or daughter can now be given to the surviving child, whether male or female. The Act has been amended to allow the will executor the right to disposition any property competent of being disposed of by a male and a female as per the terms of the Indian Succession Act of 1925 or any other law applicable to the Hindus.

For all issues related to property distribution for women, keep watching this space as we follow it all up in subsequent newsletters.

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