For generations, women were subjugated and deprived of many basic rights. Right to claiming one’s own father’s movable or immovable property was one such. But in the recent past, many revolutionary reforms have been made and new laws have been passed to irradiate this age-old discrimination against women. Like many other countries, India too has heralded this mission of Woman Empowerment. The amendment of The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is one such hallmark step.
Origin of Hindu Succession Act, 1956:
Originally there were two popular social laws pertaining to Hindu Woman’s claims on the property. The first one was the Mitakshara Law. This school did not allow a woman to have a claim over her father’s property. Her parental house was responsible only for her sustenance until she got married. They would also bear her matrimonial expenses. But she was no more their responsibility once she was married. On the other hand, the Dayabhaga system recognised a daughter’s rights over her father’s holdings. Unfortunately, the 1956 version of the Hindu Succession Act was created in the framework of Mitakshara law. And this is how the law fostered the ancient Indian acts of discrimination against woman.
The Needful Amendment:
It is as recent as 2005 when the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was finally amended in order to stop the discriminatory practices against women. It was an attempt to establish “Equality for All” in India. It is only after this amendment that women started getting the share of ownership in her father’s ancestral property. But the only constraint of this act is that women who have alienated or partitioned from their property claims before December 20, 2004, cannot claim for their rights on their father’s property. This is so because the new Bill was introduced on that date.
The assertion of Rights of a Daughter on Family/Ancestral Property:
After the amendment in 2005, a daughter can legally claim for her portion in the ancestral property. If in any case her rights are denied, she can file a suit in the court of law. For this, all she needs to do is, pay the court fees that would vary according to the value of her share in the property. The rest will be taken care of by the law.
Therefore, we can proudly say that India has finally recognised the property rights of her daughters. And standing in the 21st century, a daughter all through her life is legally as much a part of her father’s family as her male sibling. Because Indian law has qualified her with “equal” share in her parental holdings.