English philosopher John Locke included the Right to life, liberty, and Property as natural rights. When does a woman have the right to property? When can she claim partition? What are the changes brought in law recently? For answers to these and similar questions, let’s go to this section and look into the various provisions of Hindu laws.
Streedhan includes all movable, immovable property gifts, etc. received by women prior to her marriage, at the time of marriage, during childbirth, and during her widowhood. Streedhan is different from Dowry in the way that it is the voluntary gifts given to a woman before or after her marriage and has no element of coercion. The Courts have also made this distinction clear. Women have an absolute right over their Streedhan.
Women have the right to inherit property rights within a society. The right to property assures property and inheritance rights to women. The property rights of the Indian women are determined on the basis of factors like religion, marital status, regional difference, and status of the tribe or other.
The ownership of the right to property varies between different cultural and religious groups. Laws vary according to the position of the woman in a family i.e. daughters, wives and mothers.
There are different laws for mothers, daughters, and wives in Hindu property laws, Muslim property laws, and Christian property laws. The laws apply accordingly to all the women on the basis of their religion.
Hindu Property Rights: Daughters have equal rights of inheritance as sons both to their father’s and mothers’ property.
Muslim Property Rights: Mothers are entitled to inherit one-sixth of her deceased child’s estate.
Christian Property Rights: Wives have the right to inherit one-sixth of the husband’s property and the remaining is divided among the children equally.
Women's property rights are property and inheritance rights enjoyed by women as a category within society at any point in time.
In September 2005, the Supreme Court (SC) in a landmark judgment declared that Indian women would have an equal right to a share in the property as men, granting daughters the right to inherit ancestral property along with male relatives.
Recently, on 11 August 2020, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgement regarding the right of Hindu women to ancestral property. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra ruled that a Hindu Woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and it does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005.
The law being referred to is the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, which earlier gave women the right to be a coparcener (joint-heir) as a male heir.