Women’s Right to Inherit Property

हिंदी में पढ़ें
October 10, 2019
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



Inheritable property in India was initially granted only to the son in a Hindu family. With the recent amendments, the right to inherit property has now been granted to the women as well. However, according to a rule passed by the Supreme Court, a woman cannot claim right in the inheritable property that was left behind by her father before 2005. This means that if the father had passed away before 2005, the daughter cannot claim an equal share in the inheritable property.

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Are there any specific rules that apply only to properties left behind by women?

A property left behind by a woman should be divided equally among her children and her husband. If a child had already passed away, then that child's share would be divided between his children. If there is no spouse, child or grandchild alive then the property would be divided between her parents. If her parents have also passed away then the property would be divided between the heirs of her parents.
 

Widow’s right in her husband’s property

Section 10 in The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 talks about the distribution of the property in situation where a husband dies intestate and says that distribution of property shall take place among the heirs in class I of the Schedule wherein the Rule 1 specifically states that the intestate’s widow, or if there are more widows than one, all the widows together shall take one share.

For instance, if a husband dies intestate and is survived by two widows and a son, heirs in Class I shall take the property simultaneously and to the exclusion of all others. Here according to the provisions of Rule 1 of section 10, both the widows of the husband shall take one-half share in the property of the husband and the other half shall go to his son.

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In situations where a husband dies intestate leaving two widows and no sons, both of them shall inherit the property equally, i.e. both of them shall be entitled to one-half share, there being no other Class I heir.

A remarried widow can keep the share of her dead husband’s property. In 2008, the Supreme Court of India decided that a widow who remarries cannot be deprived of a share in her dead husband’s property as according to it the widow becomes an absolute owner of the deceased husband’s riches to the extent that her share under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 would prevail over the earlier Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act 1856.

The Supreme Court of India did not concur with the provisions of the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act 1856 which says that all rights and interests which any widow may have in her deceased husband’s property by way of maintenance, or by inheritance, shall cease upon her re-marriage and set it aside.

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The Supreme Court, in its decision, observed that the Hindu Succession amendment Act has brought about a huge change in Shastric Hindu law and made Hindu widows eligible and equal in the matter of inheritance and succession along with male heirs.

The Apex court held that section 4 of Hindu Marriage Act would have overriding effect over the text of any Hindu law including the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act.



 

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