Property Rights of Women in India

Property Rights of Women in India

For long, women were not supposed to have as much share in the property as men had. Property rights of women in India remained largely an ignored and unaddressed issue. Till about twelve years ago –specifically, the year 2005 -women stood to lose on account of their being daughters/wives/daughters-in-law. In September 2005, the courts declared that Indian women would have a right to a share in property just like a man of the family did.

While it is tough to put in brief the minute details of how the property rights of women in India effectively stand, below is an attempt to give a glimpse of the same. The status of a woman in terms of relationships has been further analysed in terms of the major law categories.

Read: Wife rights on the property after husband’s death

Property rights of women in India

Daughters

Hindu Law,

  • The daughters now have equal right of inheritance to their father’s estate as sons.
  • The daughters have a right to receive a share in mother’s property.
  • The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 removes discriminatory gender that was in the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and now it gives the various rights to the daughters that are as follows:
  • In the context of coparcener, the daughter will
  • have same rights as the son
  • have to bear the same liability in the property as the son
  • be allotted the same share as to the son
  • The married daughter does not have the right to ask for maintenance or to shelter in her parent’s home

But if the married daughter is deserted, widowed or divorced she has the right of residence

Read: Equal inheritance rights to daughters

A female has all the rights on any property that she has been gifted or has earned it, or that has been willed to her, that too if she has achieved a majority. She can dispose of the property by selling, gifting or willing to others as she deems fit.

Muslim Law,

  • The daughters have right of inheritance equal to one-half of the son’s share to their father’s estate.
  • She has full control over her share of property and has the legal right to control, manage and dispose of her share as per her wishes in life or after death.
  • The daughter can receive gifts from those whom she may inherit property, but it doesn’t take away her claim as per the inheritance laws.
  • The daughter has the right of residence in her parent’s home and to ask for support until she gets married.

If the married daughter gets divorced, the maintenance charges fall on her parents after the iddat period which is approximately three months but if she has kids who can support her then it is their duty to do so.

Read: The married daughters’ right in mother’s property

Christian Law,

  • The daughters inherit equally with any brothers in her father’s or mother’s estate.
  • The daughter has the right to shelter and maintenance till she gets married from her parents, but she cannot ask for it after her marriage.
  • She has all rights to her personal property, upon accomplishing majority. Until this happens, her father is her natural guardian.

Wives

Hindu Law,

A married woman has full right over her property and is the sole owner whether it is gifted, inherited or earned by her.

She has the right to gift it to anyone whether in parts or as a whole.

The married woman has the right to maintenance and shelter from her husband.

If the husband is a part of a joint family, she has the right to shelter and maintenance from the family.

In the case of partition of joint family property (between her husband and his sons), the wife has the right to a share equal to as any other person.

When her husband dies, she has the right to an equal share of his part, jointly with her children and his mother.

Read: Division of Property Among Daughters and Daughters-In-Law

Muslim Law,

  • The wife has the right to maintenance as any other wife, if any, and to take action against her husband if he discriminates against her.
  • She has the right to maintain her control over her personal property and goods.
  • The wife in case of divorce has the right that the husband makes fair and reasonable provision for her future which includes her maintenance.
  • The wife has the right to mehr’ as per terms of contract accepted at the time of the wedding.
  • She has the right to inheritance to the extent of one-fourth when there are no kids and if there are kids then to the extent of one-eighth.

Christian Law,

  • The wife has the right to receive maintenance from her husband, and if he doesn’t do so, she has the right to ask for the divorce.
  • The wife upon the death of her husband has the right to receive a one-third share of his estate, and the rest is divided among his children equally.

Read: Daughters shares in Ancestral Property

Mothers

Hindu Law,

  • The mother has the right to receive maintenance from her children who can support her. She is a part of Class I heir of Inheritance Law.
  • In the case of Joint Family, the widowed mother has the right to take the share equal to the share of her son.
  • She has the right to dispose of her property by sale, gift or will as she may choose.
  • If the mother dies intestate, her estate will be distributed among her children equally despite their sex.

Muslim Law,

  • If the mother is widowed or she gets divorced, she has the right to receive maintenance from her children.
  • She has the right to inherit a one-sixth share of her deceased child’s property.
  • The mother’s property will be divided as per the rules of Muslim law.

Christian Law,

  • The mother doesn’t have the right to receive maintenance from her children.
  • She may inherit one-fourth of her children’s property if her kids die without a spouse or any living child.