Muslim law does not recognize the concept of self-acquired and ancestral property. As long as the person is alive, the property owned by him would be his absolute property. As a result, no right of any legal heirs accrues until his death. On his death, the legal heirs would become entitled to a fraction of his death.
When it comes to the distribution of property under Muslim law, rest assured that the distribution could be made in two days. It would be per capita for Sunnis and per strip distribution for Shias under the Muslim law. However, it would be pertinent to mention here that the quantum of their inheritance would be dependent on the branch along with the number of people belonging to the branch.
The right to claim inheritance under the Muslim law would be exercised during the lifetime of the person claiming the right. It would not be wrong to suggest that the rights of the person living in the property for approximately 30 years to that of the persons not having claimed any right to the property would have to be examined under the facts of the case along with the principles governing the Muslim laws in the nation.
What rules govern the inheritance of property under Muslim law?
Under Muslim law, the inheritance would be dependent on the kind of property involved in the case. A non-testamentary succession would entail the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. In the event, the person dies after creating his will; the inheritance would be governed by the relevant Muslim Shariat Law, applicable to both the Shias and Sunnis.
Rights of women under Muslim law
A PIL (Public Interest Litigation) amended the law of inheritance under Muslim law alleging that the Muslim women were discriminated against on several issues relating to the sharing of property compared to the men in their community.
According to the amendment, the law is that the wife should receive 1/8th of the property of her husband after his death, provided they have children. In the event, there are no children out of their wedlock, the wife’s right to the husband’s property after his death in Islam would be 1/4th of the property. On the other hand, the daughter would receive half of the share of what the son receives.
On the contrary, the men would receive 1/4th of the property of his wife on her death, provided they have children. In the event, there are no children borne out of wedlock, the husband would be entitled to half the property of his wife after her death. The son would receive double the property of the daughter.
The petition pleads that the discrimination would be based on customary law along with the statutory law has violated the fundamental right of equality of the Muslim women and other relevant provisions of the Constitution of India. However, there are other provisions as well as ensuring the financial security of Muslim women. These would be essential for the protection of the rights of Muslim women.