Marriage is a sacramental union in Hindu Law. But most of the rules and guidelines in this union are laid down for married women only.
With the passage of time, married women are trying to balance this union with both husband and wives enjoying equality in marriage. Married women are becoming aware of their rights as wives, mothers and married daughters.
Married women’s rights include:
- right of inheritance in parent’s property
- the right of maintenance for herself and her children
- right against domestic violence
- right to residence
- right against polygamy
The list is not exhaustive and can be altered with changing times and social conditions.
Undoubtedly, the gender equality comes more with equal financial rights than anything else. The study of laws related to married women’s right in the property of her parents and her husband becomes significant.
Hindu Succession Act, 1956
- Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – Hindu Succession Act contains provisions for intestate (the property for which there is no will) succession among heirs and applies to all who are Hindus under the provisions of Act.
- The Act recognizes the concept of HUF (Hindu Undivided Family), which is a group of lineal descendants of a common ancestor. First four generations (only male members of HUF) are called coparceners and these coparceners acquire an interest in the coparcenary property by birth.
- Coparcenary property is a property which has passed undivided from a common ancestor to four generations. Both ancestral and self-acquired property (which is pooled in joint property) can be coparcenary property.
- The wives and daughters of coparceners also have a share in the undivided property but not the birthright in the undivided joint property. They are members of HUF but not coparceners.
Married Women’s Rights (Right of a Married daughter in her father’s property) under Hindu Succession Act, 2005
Once the daughter is married, she ceases to be part of HUF and loses any right in the father’s property. But now there has been an Amendment in the Act in 2005, and it has brought sea changes in the position of daughter:
- The daughter shall also be a coparcener by birth, e. she inherits equally as other coparceners in the undivided joint family property. Earlier the daughter was only a member of HUF and not a coparcener. It means she was not entitled to seek partition. Now she is a coparcener and has same rights and liabilities as a son. (Only daughters can be admitted in coparcenary after amendment. Wives, mother and widows are still not part of coparcenary)
- Daughter is now on equal footing with a son as both have a birthright in coparcenary property
- Daughter can ask for partition, and she has an equal share in the property
- The daughter living or dead on the date of Amendment (9th September 2005) has share in her father’s property – thus her children can claim if she is dead.
- In February 2018, in a judgment, it has been made clear by Supreme Court of India that the benefits of the amendment will be available to all women whether born before or after the date of the amendment. The marital status of the daughter also will not make any difference. Thus women can file suit for the partition to claim their share in father’s property.
Now women enjoy rights in the property of their father by birth. Marital status makes no difference. In the case of the self-acquired property of the father, both sons and daughters enjoy equal rights. Thus married woman’s right in their father’s property is similar to that of a son.