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EVOLUTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS TO DAUGHTERS

INTRODUCTION:

The Indian succession legislation of 1956 governs Indian succession and inheritance, which granted legal heirs the Right to Property. As the “legal heirs” implies, the question of whether gender discrimination occurs when granting a daughter’s property rights raises the question of whether daughters are indeed legal heirs. That is a simple question that comes up. A daughter who was not given parental rights believes she belongs to another family. According to Hinduism, only joint family members’ descendent is regarded as a coparcenary when they share an ancestor. Hence, the daughters would not be included in the obvious line of ancestry. The son here considers descent. Hence, only the coparcenary has the authority to request a property distribution between the coparceners[1] . Female Intestates in Hindu Succession Act, 1956, India is expanding mentally and legally in every area of society as it develops. The daughter could only obtain her rights from society once they had been legally taken away from her. The legal perspective of society altered dramatically as a result of thinking in this way, and it improved because women were able to demonstrate their leadership skills in a variety of economic sectors. Women now have a legal right to own their property as a result of this.

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005 made significant changes that allowed daughters to have the same rights in a mixed household as sons do[2]. This change provided both sons and daughters with an equal chance to inherit an ancestor’s property. The most basic rule is that the husband and children shall receive all sorts of property[3] , regardless of whether the deceased person is still alive or not at the time of succession. This type of discrimination violated Article 15 of the Constitution’s fundamental rights, which forbids discrimination based on caste, race, gender, or place of birth[4] . Here, the word also plays a significant role in the discrimination against one sex of the family who was born and raised in a well-respected household. The matter of Mamata D. Vakil v. Bansi S. Wadhwa[5] has so been decided, as HSA sec. 8 and 15(3)’s legitimacy is under scrutiny, and as a result, the judiciary upheld the Article’s status as a fundamental constitutional value of equality. Section 15(1) of the HSA, brought up the issue of unfairness because the action depends not only on orientation but also on family relationships. It goes on to argue that while it is true that a woman lives with her husband after marriage, she also renounces her material and parental ties in exchange for a conjugal bond. The major heirs to the husband in the women’s property have therefore been taken by the law in light of this reality under Hindu intestate succession.

THE LANDMARK CASES TO DAUGHTERS RIGHT TO PROPERTY

Daughters’ rights to ancestral property were not from the Indian Succession Act of 1956, but it got evolved in 2005. The Indian Succession Act of 1956 was changed in 2005 to address the issue of daughters having the same rights to coheir property as sons. Due to discrimination, A daughter of a coparcener is now also a coparcener by birth in her own right in the same matriarchal family thanks to a 2005 amendment to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956[6] . The daughter received the same obligations and rights in the coparcenary property as a son would have, according to the law. In the Prakash and Ors v. Phulavati and Ors, 2016[7] by the supreme court of India, it said that daughters would be coparcener to the ancestral property as equal to sons only if the following condition fulfilled that is,

  • Daughter’s right to the property share must have existed in 2005.
  • If the daughter passes away before 2005, her legal heirs are not eligible to inherit the property interest.
  • For the daughter to be able to claim her portion, both the daughter and her father must be living.
  • The amendment would not apply to any division, disposition, or transfer of joint family property that occurred before the amendment.

In Lokmani V. Mahadevamma & Ors. 2016[8] – Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was given retroactive effect in this case by the Karnataka High Court, requiring that any matters that are now pending in court be resolved under the modified act. The daughter’s entitlement to ancestral property was subject to discrimination, which the high court attempted to end.

In Vineet Sharma V. Rakesh Sharma & Ors. 2020[9] – According to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, a daughter has an unhindered right to the property since birth and that right cannot be taken away because her father or she is deceased as of 2005, the year of the change, according to the Supreme Court of India. The court also resolves section 6(5) of the Hindu Succession Act, stating that an oral agreement can be used to share property rather than a partition deed or court order, provided that there is some kind of standing evidence, such as official records. Because they were born into a Hindu family, it was decided that female successors receive the same benefits of succession as their male counterparts. This decision was made while saying that the amendment legislation is retroactive. The Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) holdings will treat a daughter coparcener equally to respect the principle of “equality” according to the Supreme Court of India.

CONCLUSION:

Women were just as financially reliant on men as men were on them in terms of mobility. The men would so possess complete property ownership. Therefore, rather than creating any new plans for the succession to her assets, the law has instead primarily focused on ensuring her maintenance and property rights since 1929. This was the first attempt at a law relating to the Hindu Law of Inheritance in 1929, which was amended, as well as the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act of 1937, both of which were primarily concerned with ensuring her maintenance and property rights. It’s important to note that Hindu succession legislation is the only one in the nation to offer distinct succession plans for male and female intestates. There isn’t a set universal framework in place because Hindu law places a focus on maintaining and safeguarding property in a male Hindu’s family. Even though the Act tries to protect the concept of nearness, it has been underlined that her husband’s heirs are given preference over her blood kin. Things gradually evolved. After a long journey, women today have the same right to inherit as sons. The laws that forbade discrimination against women are no longer in force. The 1956 Hindu Succession Act was not gender-neutral and fell short of social law’s ideals. Significant changes were made with the Hindu Succession Reform Act of 2005, which granted women coparcener status.

Author(s) Name: Sowbhagyalaxmi Hegde (Karnataka State Law University)

References:

[1] APOORVA MANDHANI, Daughter’s equal right to ancestral property — here’s what

landmark SC judgment says, 11 August, 2020 <https://theprint.in/judiciary/daughters-equal-

right-to-ancestral-property-heres-what-landmark-sc-judgment-says/479728/.

[2] Prabbha Sridevan, A Law that Thwarts Justice, e -TheHindu, June 26, 2011

[3] Hindu Law of Inheritance (Amendment) Act, 1929

[4] The Constitution of India, 1950, Article 15

[5] Mamta Dinesh Vakil vs Bansi S. Wadhwa (2012) TESTAMENTARY SUIT NO. 86 OF

2000

[6] Hindu Sucession Act ,1956

[7] Prakash And Others Vs. Phulavati And Others (2016) C.O. 1720 of 2013

[8] Lokmani V. Mahadevamma & Ors. [2016] R.F.A No. 58/2014

[9] Vineet sharma V. Rakesh Sharma & Ors. (2020) Special Leave Petition (C) NO.684 OF

2016