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The Innovation Of Property Rights Of A Hindu Woman

India is a country of so many linguistics, cultures, and religions and national of more than a billion people and almost half comprise of women and the lives of women principally governed by the Personal laws which are the set of rules which govern the behavior of individuals vis a vis their family i.e., spouse, parents, children, religion, etc. It has been widely observed that the rights that women have under personal laws are frequently usurped.

This article discusses the advancement of Hindu Women's Right to Property has taken a very long time to reach the place where it stands right now. The impression of an impartial share in the property for Hindu women in Indian society was blemished by the existing ropes of statutory laws as most of the laws that were primitively formulated and discouraged passing on property, agricultural or otherwise, to women for fear of fragmentation of landholding or losing it, once the woman gets married or the widows had their fair share.

The discrimination concerning the procurement and access to the property could very well be theirs. Yet, the evolution of the concept of Hindu women's rights to the property is noteworthy in itself for the reason that the very scope of its variation if compared to the historical times is remarkable.

The concept of Hindu Women's Right to Property in Vedic India, the Vedic times speak about the rights in respect of the property to women in India individual proprietorship that is, unmarried daughter staying in the father's home can have a share of that property but was still left about the insufficient allocation of property to the women or in some cases none at all. This was because women as an individual entity never got the respect as a separate entity for the matters of transfer of property in an independent manner and the fact that most women were suppressed of rights by the other male member of the family and society and lack of enforcement agency, the said right remained in concept.

Many women who lack education and awareness of their rights in respect of property were deprived of a fair share of the property. As the Vedic narrative goes unmarried daughters had the right to claim their share in the paternal wealth and whereas married daughters cannot claim any right in the paternal wealth. In cases where the daughter was the only child of the family, she can perform the last rites of her father thus getting a right to the property but if she has a brother, in that case, the general opinion of Dharma-sastras was, that the sisters should not get the share in father's property.

The general opinion of Hindu society prevailing at that point of time was that sisters must not get any share in the property if they had brothers. However, this opinion was because during the Vedic times, after the marriage of a woman, she becomes joint owners with her the husband of that household and it was a rite that the husband must take a solemn vow during the marriage that he would never contravene the economic rights and interests of his wife but this provided only minor advantages to the wife, even though she was not given the right over it as her absolute property.

The government, the opposition, the parliament, the judges, the media, the civil society, and every person has to perform their roles, each in their areas of capability and in a determined manner for making the procedure to be speedy and effective. Several legal reforms have taken place since independence in India, including an equal share of daughters to property and the law provides for a judicial proceeding to enforce the law by way of courts as well as the penalty for violating the law, women being socially and economically subservient are either uninformed or unable to enforce these legal rights through courts.

Before the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 a Hindu woman only had a right to maintenance from the ancestral property and a widow had a limited estate which she was disentitled to part with. A Hindu women's right to property is now administered by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. At present, a daughter as an heir is placed equal to a son as far as a birthright in ancestral property is concerned.

The only infirmity put on a woman as an heir under Section 23 of the Hindu Succession Act is that a woman as an heir cannot pursue partition of the dwelling house till the male heir decides to have such a partition even if the woman is an heir is unmarried or widowed, she has a right of residence and maintenance.

However, there is a substantial difference as the right to succession of a man's property devolves at the first instance upon his children, wife, and mother and secondly upon his extended family whereas the right to succession of the property of a woman devolves at the first instance upon her children, at the second instance upon her husband, and then upon her relatives at the end.

Only if her husband does not have any family does any right accrue to the family of the women. The only exception to this rule is that her family inherits property, which devolves upon a woman from her family.

However, subsequent amendments to the Act have gone a long way to formulating the law further towards equality between men and women. The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill 2004, which was based on the recommendations and suggestions made by the Law Commission of India in its 174th Report on "Property Rights of Women: Proposed Reform under the Hindu Law� recommends to eradicate the discrimination as contained in section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 by way of giving to daughters the equal coparcenary rights in the property as the sons have in the Hindu Mitakshara.

The Parliament of India by an amendment in 2005 to The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 1956 made the daughters coparcener just as the sons irrespective of their marital status under Section 61 and it thereby provided equal rights to the daughters regarding the inheritance in Mitakshara coparcenary property as that of the sons. The obstacle provided under section 232 was also eradicated for the daughters to give them the equal rights to claim share or ask for the partition in regards to the dwelling house occupied by the Joint Hindu Family.

With the advancement of Hindu Women's Rights to Property, the Judiciary has portrayed a principal role in making sure that is where it stands right now. The response of the judiciary, The Hon�ble Supreme Court of India on August 11. 2020, in the Judgment of Vineeta Sharma v Rakesh Sharma, made it quite clear and delivered a significant and progressive. The Court in the said case was dealing with issues of interpretation of Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, and in addition to that whether the effect of amended section 6 is retrospective, prospective or retroactive?

While deciding the said case the court also dealt with several questions or issues concerning the implications of Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 like whether a daughter is allowed to claim her right in the coparcenary property as coparcener, in case her father died before the 2005 amendment or could she seek partition in the coparcenary property even if her father passed away intestate before 2005 and but now by overruling and overturning the said judgments and held that although section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and along with that the supreme court decided to overruled and overturned the judgments passed in two of its previous cases namely Prakash v. Phulavati and Danamma @ Suman Surpur v. Amer in which it was held that Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is strictly perspective and that a daughter cannot claim the property in the partition of coparcenary property if her father or coparcener died before the 2005 amendment act. In other words, the amendment applied to the living daughters of the living coparceners as of 9.9.2005. On the contrary, in the latter case, the court granted a coparcenary to a daughter of a coparcener who had died much before 9.9.2005.

The Establishment of laws and bringing practices in conformity thereto is necessarily a long-drawn-out process. It is clear from the foregoing that though the property rights of Hindu women have grown better with the advance of time, they are far from totally equal and fair Empowerment of women, leading to equal social status in society hinges, among other things, on their right to hold and inherit property.

These amendments can empower women both economically and socially. Millions of women their families thus stand to gain by these amendments. The Supreme Court has removed the last vestiges of gender discrimination in coparcenary rights that had lingered on despite a change in the law by granting women equal rights in Hindu joint family property with retrospective effect. Making all daughters' coparceners likewise has more far-reaching implications. It gives women birth rights in the joint family property that cannot be willed away.

Rights in coparcenary property and the dwelling house will also provide social protection to women facing spousal violence or marital breakdown, by giving them a potential shield and women do not just get victimized. Guaranteeing rights to women is an investment in making the whole nation stronger and self-reliant.

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