the passage of time, the women property rights in India have changed
drastically. Women property rights may be studied in two parts:
1) Daughter rights in her own ancestral property through her father and property self-acquired by her father.
Wife rights in the property of her husband and in-laws.
Women have equal
property rights in parental as well as ancestral property
in the ancient times, women were respected however, they were not treated equally
when it comes to her rights in ancestral property. Presently, after the Hindu
Succession (Amendment)Act, 2005, a female has equal rights as of her brothers
(male) on the property of her own parents. When it comes to the property to be
passed on through the way of inheritance, a women (sister) is equal to her
brother’s property right.
- Further, with the
changes made in by the legislation, a widow is to be treated equally with her
sons when it comes to in the property rights of a deceased husband. The Hindu
women’s rights to property act replace the rule of the Hindu law that a widow
was to get her share only when her sons or their sons actually divided the
property. Now, under this act, a widow gets right to the same share as her son,
independent of whether a partition of property takes place or not. In such a
case, a widowed daughter-in-law receives equal rights along with her own son
rights in the ancestral property of her husband. Moreover, she gets right of
her late husband’s share in the joint family through the way of inheritance and
not by survivorship, as generally, it used to be. This interest which devolves
upon her is named to be a Hindu women’s property.
- However, a women
married in India – either married or divorced – does not have any type of right
in the property of her husband or in-laws.
- This is a very
important law point for non-resident Indians or persons of Indian origin
residing abroad. She has only the right to get maintenance and shelter.
Recently under the domestic violence act, in India women have got a right to
stay in the shared household or house of her husband. Still, this does not
imply she has any kind of right in the property and land of her husband.
Moreover, women doesn’t have any rights in the property of her in-laws.
- A women married in
India has an undeniable right to own and possess her own istridhan (gift given
to a woman by her friends and relatives in the marriage for her exclusive use).
In such cases, if a women wants to have alimony or maintenance in India, she
gets a meagre amount only. Hence property lawyers in India suggest that women
should file false cases of dowry and domestic violence under the section 498A,
406 etc. This is the only approach that Indian law gives a mechanism to get
alimony or maintenance of a larger sum than that rendered by section 24 of
Hindu marriage act or section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
- If a wife does not want
to file a false criminal case against her husband and her in-laws in India, in
that case the only way to get enough alimony and maintenance is to file for
uncontested divorce outside the India with the terms of a property settlement
allowing a female to have half share in the property of her husband.
It is imperative to safeguard the property rights of women to secure their life. She deserves equal share as her brother in the property and land of her parents and as her husband in the property of her in-laws.