“The women are not garment you wear and undress however you like. They are honoured and have their rights”

Umar Ibn Khattab R.A

Since the early ages, because of the patriarchal society we live in, women have always been considered lower to men in respect of their rights, dignity, and significance. After independence, the need to uplift the status of women was felt which led to the enactment of various legislations and inclusions of various women oriented provisions in existing laws. It would be better to deal with property rights of daughter and their right to maintenance separately, in order to understand their rights in a more comprehensive way.

Property rights of sons and daughters were different until the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, was amended in 2005. While daughters enjoyed the right over their father’s property only until they got married and could only ask for sustenance from a joint Hindu Family, sons, on the other hand, had complete right over the property. After marriage, a daughter becomes part of her husband’s family and ceases to be part of her father’s HUF. After the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 amended the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 every daughter, whether married or unmarried, is considered a member of her father’s HUF and can be appointed as ‘karta’ of his HUF property.[1] The same duties, rights, liabilities and disabilities that were earlier limited to sons are now been extended to the daughters. But the amendment does not have retrospective operation and is applicable only if both father and daughter were alive on the date of coming into force of the amendment i.e. 9th September, 2005. Moreover, if the property has been partitioned or alienated before 20th December, 2004(date of introduction of Amendment Bill), the daughter cannot ask for a share. It is also worth mentioning that, daughters have a share in the mother’s property as well. A woman has full rights over any property that she has earned or that has been gifted to her, provided she has attained majority.[2] She is free to dispose of these by sale, gift or will as she deem fit.[3] Under Muslim Law, woman is considered to be worth half a man.[4] A sole daughter takes a half share. If there is more than one daughter, each of them takes two-third. If there is a brother, the sister becomes a residuary and each brother gets double of what each sister gets. She however has full control over the property.

Christian Law

Under Christian Law, a daughter inherits equally irrespective of the fact whether she has siblings or not. She also has full right over the personal property upon attaining majority.

According to Hindu law, it is a Hindu’s duty to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate child.[5] A separate right has been granted to the child whether legitimate or illegitimate to claim maintenance from his or her parents until he/she is a minor.[6] Parents have to maintain their unmarried daughter only when she is unable to maintain herself out of her own earnings.[7]

Muslim Law

Under Muslim Law, daughters have right to maintenance and shelter in their parents’ house until they get married.

Under Christian law, she is entitled to maintenance and shelter before marriage but not after.

In order to empower women and help them become independent, various provisions have been enacted. But law alone cannot bring a change in the society. It is of immense significance, that the women must be aware of their rights and must be ready to fight for the fulfilment of the same.

[1]The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, section 6.

[2]Anonymous, Property rights of women in India and Maintenance,(Aug. 9, 2017, 21:25 PM), http://ncw.nic.In /MeeraDidiSePoochoEnglish/Chapter10.pdf

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, section 20(1).

[6] Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, section 20(2).

[7] Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, section 20(3).

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