India is a diverse country with more than 1 billion people living together. People follow different cultures, traditions, and religions. In India, roughly 6 to 7 religions have been for aeons. A few of the beliefs that have been existing are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, and The Bahai faith. It said that a few religions practised because of western influence. Under a belief, there are different sects. For example, Hinduism has denominations like Vaishism, Shaivisim, Shaktisim, and Smartism.
The preamble to the Indian Constitution clearly states that India is a Sovereign, Secular, Socialist, Democratic, and Republic, which means that religion will not be involved in the organization of the state. It also means that India does not recognize or support any religion. It is neutral towards all religions. It is why the constitution makers have made laws for the people following other religions. Article 25 gives its citizens the right to profess and practice any religion of their choice people of India also have a choice not to follow a particular religion. The state, i.e., the Government in India, does not have any right to interfere in the religious matters of the citizens in case of violation of fundamental fairness.
Indian Constitution has different laws for different religions. The law that regulates and governs Indian Muslims is the Shariah Law. It is a law developed by the teachings of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W and the Quran. Hindu Law applies to all Hindu sects the primary schools of Hindu law are Dayabhagya and Mitakshara.
Succession, in simple words, means the right to get a position or a tangible thing that someone else possesses it passes on. There are specific personal laws for each religion practised in India, including provisions for property rights. The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 governs Hindu law. Furthermore, the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937governs Muslim law. The blog deals with a comparative study between Muhammedian Succession Act for Muslim Women’s Rights and Hindu Succession Act for Hindu Women’s Rights.
MUHAMMEDIAN SUCCESSION LAW – MUSLIM WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Muhammedian Succession law gives Indian Muslim women the right to reside in their parent’s house and maintain it until they get married. Inheritance of property in Islamic laws comes only after possessing it dies. The daughter has a right of equal share to her brother, i.e., ½ of the son’s. A Muslim Divorced woman has a right to receive maintenance from her Ex-Husband for three months, after which her parents are responsible. A Muslim Widow can succeed 1/8th of the property without children. A wife can receive total wealth and property from her husband during the marriage.
Mehr – The concept of Mehr is that at the time of nikah, before signing the contract of a specific marriage amount is given as consideration by the groom to the bride reason behind it is that after the dissolution of his marriage, he provides for his wife’s subsistence. It is an obligation of the groom.
Hiba- It is a gift of property, and the receiver must sign a letter of declaration.
Rights of Property to Muslim Indian Women.
- More than 1/3 of property cannot be held by a Muslim woman.
- No heirs in the property prescribed by law; the wife gets the will.
HINDU SUCCESSION ACT – HINDU WOMEN’S RIGHTS
Hindus, Jain, Buddhists, and Sikhs had a uniform succession act enforced in 1956. It was the first law that addressed the issue of gender inequality with property reference. The law initially barred the daughters from being co-parceners in the Hindu Undivided Joint Family.
Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956,
With the passage of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – The Gazette of India, a Hindu woman gained total ownership of whatever property she owned. The Act meant that there was no longer any distinction between her saudayika property, non-saudayika property, and non-stridhan property. As a result, even for property other than saudayika land, she no longer needs her husband’s approval or compliance with any restrictions.
Stridhan is a dhan, i.e., money or property or a gift the bride’s father gives the bride.
The Supreme Court determined in this case that women’s rights under Section 14(1) are unalienable and cannot be restricted by asserting anything or using any legal interpretation. It went on to say that the period of acquisition of such property is meaningless since women who held it before the clause had been established would now grant absolute rights that were previously limited.
- The Muhammedian Laws of Succession give women property ownership rights only after the possessor’s death. Nevertheless, Hindu laws have a concept of Dayabhagya and Mitakshara wherein he gets his father’s property just after the son’s birth. In contrast, in the other one, after the father’s death, the son receives the parcel.
- The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – India Code said that the women need not take her husband’s consent to use her Stridhan. The same goes with Mehr in Muhammedian Law; the Mehr is given solely to the wife by the husband, and she prevails over the right over the same.
- Muhammedian Law provides a wife who is childless a share of 1/4th of the husband’s property and a 1/8th wife with children. The daughter is liable to half the property of that son. In the Hindu Marriage Act, a wife has absolute rights over her property. In the case of a Hindu Undivided Family, she shall be supported and sheltered by her husband after Husband’s dead wife has equal rights on the property of her children and Husband’s mother. The daughter is a 2-class heir and can access the property if the brother does not have a 1st-class heir.
- Under the Hindu Succession Act, a divorced woman can ask for maintenance and alums only for the property if half is on her will. In case of the husband’s death under shariah law, a single wife has 1/4th of the husband’s assets.
- A widowed mother is 1/6th of the share of the property from the deceased child and maintenance under Islamic laws. While the Hindu laws treat a widowed mother as a class 1 heir, she has equal rights over land as children and has a right even to receive maintenance from them.
- If a Muslim marries under Special Marriage Act after their death will be done based on Indian Succession Act.
Religions in India have their laws, which keep in mind the religious texts and beliefs of the people following the faith. The Muhammedian Succession Act and the Hindu Succession Act provided women with rights and empowered them. Initial laws were male-dominated, but the legislature also made laws keeping female society in mind as the months passed. For example, the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 barred women from being co-parceners to the Hindu Undivided Joint Family but removed this law. In 2005 of Hindu Succession Act it gives daughters the right to be co-parceners by birth as that sons. The regulations may differ for different religions, but the motive behind them is only and only to empower women, be they mothers, daughters, sisters, daughters-in-law, a wife, or divorced women.
Author(s) Name: Aehra Tayyab Hussain (Symbiosis Law School Hyderabad)