Married Woman’s Share In Father’s Property

Married Woman’s Share In Father’s Property

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.

Property law in India for daughters

Property law in India for daughters

The property laws for daughters and sons were different until the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, but were amended in 2005. Earlier, the sons had complete power over the father’s property. Daughters enjoyed the property right only till they got married. After marriage, a daughter was considered a part of her husband’s family.

Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

Under the Hindu law, a HUF is a group including more than one person, all lineal descendants of a common predecessor/ancestor. The term HUF is supposed to apply to by people of Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, or Sikh faith. Currently, the laws keep the daughters in consideration and take care of their interests too.

Laws favouring daughters in their fathers’ properties:

Daughters’ rights in Hindu Succession Act, 2005

  • Earlier when a daughter got married, she discontinued being part of her father’s HUF which was seen by many as curtailing women’s property rights.
  • On 9/9/2005, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which governs the transference of property among Hindus, was altered.
  • According to the above Act, every daughter, whether married or unmarried, is now considered a member of her father’s HUF. She can even be appointed as ‘karta’/manager of father’s HUF property.
  • The amendment now provides for such laws that give daughters the same rights, duties, disabilities and liabilities that were earlier limited to sons.
  • However, a daughter can avail the benefits granted by the amendment only if her father passed away after 9/9 2005.
  • Moreover, the daughter is eligible to be a co-sharer mainly if the father and the daughter were alive on 9/9/ 2005.
  • Equal right to be coparceners
  • A coparcenary includes the eldest member of a family and three generations.
  • Earlier, it was said to include a son, father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather.
  • Now women of the family can be a coparcener as well.
  • The coparceners obtain a right by birth over the coparcenary property.
  • A member of the coparcenary can further sell his /her share in the coparcenary to a third party.
  • A coparcener can file a suit asking partition of the coparcenary property but not a member.
  • Thus, a daughter, as a coparcener, can now demand the partition of her father’s property/business/house.

Muslim Law

Quranic laws of inheritance are extraordinarily specific. As per Muslim Law, daughters have right to maintenance and shelter in their parent’s house till they get married. Under Muslim law, both Sunni and Shia, a daughter is entitled to succeed to the property of the parents, yet there are customs and statutes, the operation of which excludes a daughter from inheritance. Such customs and statutes are treated as valid and daughters as non-existent at the time of opening of the succession.

Christian Law

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