Women’s property rights are very limited since older times in our country in all the religions. However, Hindu Laws undergone several rapid changes among other religious laws. There were no rights for Hindu women over the ancestral properties by birth. Few changes were made to the Hindu law with respect to women’s rights over the paternal and matrimonial properties. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 made provisions for the rights of women in the property from her maternal and matrimonial homes. According to section 14 of Hindu Succession Act, now woman can act as an absolute owner i.e she can acquire or hold the property on her name and can have full rights over that acquired property. She can have rights to sell, or transfer to any third party or to her heirs, she can gift the property in the name of her to anyone. Also we saw another change in the legislation that Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, on the death of a member of a coparcenary, the property devolves upon his mother, widow and daughter, along with his son, either by testamentary or intestate succession, and not by survivorship. Therefore, rights to wife in matrimonial property, acquired except by the way of inheritance an equal share along with daughters and sons provided her marriage with her husband existed on the date of death of her husband. Therefore when she got the divorce, she would lose the right of inheritance in the marital property.
The position of women in Muslims and Christians community is found even worst. Muslim women’s property rights are governed by their personal laws. Muslims have not even the right to claim maintenance beyond three months. In Indian Divorce Act, Court has enormous powers under section 39 of Act to settle any of the property that she is entitled, to both Husband and her children of their marriage. Court may settle the damages to the wife or children of the amount recovered from the adulterer under Section 34. No clear provisions related to inheritance of spouse over the marital properties in the Act.
By Anitha Gutti