THE TIMELINE OF THE WOMEN’S PROPERTY RIGHTS IN INDIA & THE ANALYSIS OF THE AUGUST JUDGEMENT
Author: Balabavithra M
Image source - Google
CASE TITLE : Vineeta Sharma V. Rakesh Sharma, SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NOS.17661767 OF 2020
August 11, 2020
“Human rights are women’s rights and Women’s rights are Human rights “ – Hilary Clinton.
The Hon’ble SC on August 11, held that men & women have equal rights over their ancestral property. The previous judgment of September ,2005 was provided an amendment . Thus , rendering the daughters to have the same coparcenary right over the father’s property , just like a son . Each daughter that is alive on this day of amendment will have the rights over the property, like a son . Herein after , A son and daughter , both will have their property rights , right from the date of their birth . Thus , making property rights as birth rights for both of them .
Earlier to this amendment – The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 said that in a Hindu family an unmarried daughter had the right over the father’s property and a married widow had the right over her husband’s share in the property inherited. While the son irrespective whether he was married or not had the right over the father’s property. Only the sons, grandsons and great grandsons constituted the coparceners to the property earlier to this amendment.
This was based on the principles of Mitakshara school where only males belonging of the 3 degrees are allowed to offer Pindas (spiritual ministration) to the ancestors. Thus, making the males the rightful coparceners . Earlier the amendment provided that from Septermber ,2005 said that their fathers should be alive (the coparcener through whom the inherit the property).
Thus , making it possible for a woman to inherit her father’s property only if the father was alive on that date (after September 9th , 2005) – retrospective effect. And if the father / coparcener died before 2005 the inheritance will not have effect.
In 2015 judgment of supreme court in Prakash and other V. Phulavati held that , thereafter there won’t be any retrospective effect and all living daughters of the living coparceners at that time.
The 2020 verdict explained :
In 2020 , August 11 the Supreme court found that many daughters have started offering Pindas and thus the coparcenary right starts from the time of birth for both the daughter and the son(sabinda relationship). The verdict cleared a lot of doubts and affirmed that the coparcenery right of the daughter starts from the time of birth just like a son and it is not necessary that the father should be alive at 2005 and also clears that all women have the right over their ancestral property.
Time line of women’s coparcenery right in India :
Ø Before 2005 – Woman do not have coparcenery right .
Ø After 2005 – Only women born after this have coparcenery right
Ø 2015 – All living women have coparcener right over the property
Ø 2020 – All women have coparcenery right over the property from the time of birth just like a male heir (Son).
Important provisions :
· Section 6 – The Insurance (Amendment) Act , 2002
· The Insurance Act , 2002
· Section 6 – The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2006
· The Hindu Succession Act , 1956
· Cited: Prakash V. Phuluvati , Oct 16th 2015 (CIVIL APPEAL NO.7217 OF 2013)
· Cited By: Ranveer Singh V. The state of Madhya Pradesh, Aug 18th, 2020 ( THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH - MP 697/2020)
Significance of this Amendment :
The Sec 6 of The Hindu Succession Act says ,”in her own right in the same manner as the son” and also had the words “in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son”.
This applies to succession through intestate i.e., for an ancestral property but not for the succession through the will.
Way before the Amendment in 2005 states such as Maharashtra , Kerala , Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu brought this change in their system of inheritance and the application of law on such matters.
Even Kerala, in 1975 abolished their Hindu Joint Family System.
Men and women have roles, very different roles to play in their lives but their rights remain equal. When we look closer to the human rights that the judiciary tries hard to make it equal to all citizens, it is to be found that the “property rights” is just another step closer in this regard.
1.Vineeta Sharma V. Rakesh Sharma, SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NOS.17661767 OF 2020
2. Prakash V. Phuluvati , Oct 16th 2015 (CIVIL APPEAL NO.7217 OF 2013)
3. Ranveer Singh V. The state of Madhya Pradesh, Aug 18th, 2020 ( THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH - MP 697/2020)
4. The Insurance (Amendment) Act , 2002
5. The Hindu Succession Act , 1956