Even in the ancient history of India, it has been found notable that women were considered as secondary creatures and their rights were confined to various limitations in all the domains of life including property. The male society used to think that if they are given equal rights, they would be irresponsible to their marital duties and household affairs. This pathetic situation continued prior to 1937 in absence of a codified law. The Hindu Women Right to Property Act, 1937 was a benchmark set in the direction of giving better and improved rights to women.
This Act came into existence as a result of long-felt discontentment and unrest of women regarding their rights to property. Even the above-said Act was not legally able to give absolute property rights to women. Under the legal provisions of this Act, widows were given limited entitlements over the property of their husbands. It was termed as Hindu Widow’s Estate. Again, some amendments were made in the Act in the year 1938 that fully excluded widows from the agricultural land of their husband.
Needless to say, even the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 seemed to have gender discriminatory elements. When it was felt necessary in the legal corridors of the country to remove the said discriminatory provisions, the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 came into existence and was made forcible on 9th September, 2005 giving the following rights to daughters:
The daughters of a coparcener living in a joint Hindu family shall:
- by birth become a coparcener in the same way as the sons do
- would have the same rights in the coparcenary property just like if she had been a son
- would be in the same liabilities in respect of the said coparcenary as that of sons
With the coming of the Hindu Succession Act into force, just after the death of a Hindu, his interest in the property shall devolve by intestate succession or testamentary, whatever the case may be.
Whatever be the provisions, Indian women are now more aware and conscious about their birth rights, be it property or any other domain of life.
With the growing levels of education day by day, women have recognized the injustice done to them on the basis of gender discriminations. They know it very well where to go if they are made deprived of their birth rights including property. What remains still unanswered is the social fabrics of our society and the mind-sets that keep women deprived of their rights and forced them to take legal help.
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