Over the years, the status of women in India has been subject to many successful changes. But the patriarchal state of early India, purposefully ignored the decision of women’s right to property and immersed women to feel insecure and inferior in all the aspects within the society.
As compared to the current legal structure for women ancient Hindu law specifically refused sexual and economic freedom for women. In support of this premise, it is substantiated that Manu, the first lawgiver set forth; “A woman must be dependent upon her father in childhood, upon her husband in youth and upon her sons in old ages. She should never be free”. She is always been treated as minor as compared to their male counterparts. The households as well as the society have considered women as an inferior creature. The inferior status of women in society was also in light of privileges and rights.
However, our constitution stipulated women as a citizen of India treated as equal as men in all the aspect of life and to reach this objective, several amendments were made. So, let us know what were the recent new amendments which were passed in the favor of rights of women and whether they are friendly to women or not.
1. Hindu Succession Act, 1956
It was the first law which sanctioned absolute right for women on property. This law is about succession and inheritance of the property and gives a clear picture of rights possessed by each successor (like daughter, widow, son, mother) of the property. This act applies to Hinduists, Buddist, Jains, and Sikhist. The act further divides the property into two namely;
- Ancestral property (based on survivorship rule)
- Self-acquired property (based on will)
Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956
Ancestral property in this act was developed by survivorship rule where males were the coparceners up to three generations even when the primary coparcener dies, males were prioritized over females. It includes that males were given birthright on their ancestral property without taking into consideration the death of the ancestor. This was the major default of this act that it did not recognize women as the coparceners of the ancestral property.
2. Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005
The section 4 of this amended Act, concentrated on the removal of survivorship rule of the ancestral property and, brought in two different succession system of property namely;
a. Testamentary succession :
It divides the rights on a property based on the will system. The rights of the property are to be possessed only by the person whose name is written in the will.
b. Intestate succession :
The ancestral property can also be divided without the will system. In this act, the right on the ancestral property was classified into four classes (class 1 includes widow, son, daughter).
This amendment act has also introduced the condition that in case of death of ancestor the right over the property goes to the widow, son, and daughter equally.
After the Amendment of 9th September 2005, the daughters were also considered as coparceners of the ancestral property. Daughters were also given equal rights and liability on the property by birth similar to the son.
If the father died intestate before the amendment act 2005, can the daughter claim his property?
Let us discuss it with the concerned case laws:
1. Prakash vs. Phulwati (2016)
In this case Bench of SC, Justice Anil Dave and Justice A.K.Goyal declared that the ancestral i.e father must be alive during the amendment act 2005 for the daughter to claim his property.
2. Danamma vs. Amar (2018)
In this case Bench of SC Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan declared that if the father died before amendment act 2005, the daughter could claim rights on her property.
(These two cases conflicted and the judgment was given was contradictory to one other that made it difficult in following the action and giving the justice for the case, so in the recent case this problem was solved.)
3. Vineetha Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma
In this case, SC Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Abdul Nazeer, and Justice M.R.Shah decided on the analysis that a daughter can claim her right on her father’s property and this right is given by birth as equal to the son, the irrespective of whether the father is alive or died during the enforcement of 2005 amendment act.
India being a democratic country has always strived for abrogating gender inequality in society. It strictly applied the principles of constitution provided under Article 14 and 15, and generated equality between men and women. The above-mentioned case also substantiates that women are also given equal rights same as men. Over a while, women are bring recognized in society and supported by laws that are women friendly.
Shrishyly.V (BMS College of Law Bangalore)