A woman is expected to – and does – play different roles with equal grace. Whether as a daughter or a wife or a mother; patience, love, compassion and fortitude form a part of her personality. While we might not be able to quantify and put a value on her role in society, the least that we can do is to ensure her place in society and make her more secure in terms of her future.

Property has been a major bone of contention in so far as the rights of women are concerned. In India, Property Rights of Women have not been given much attention to. Rather, they have been neglected. Over time, increasing awareness and modernization have made the scenario a little better and we can now talk more of ‘equality’ in this aspect too.

Property Rights of Women as per Hindu Law

  • Daughter
    • A daughter now has equal right of inheritance to her father’s assets as the son. She also has a right to receive a share in her mother’s estate.
    • Following the revision of the Hindu Succession Act in 2005, discrimination between the genders has been removed. Various rights have been given to the daughter.
    • She also has to bear liabilities in the same manner as the son. She,
  1. has same rights and will be allotted the same share as of the sons,
  2. has the right of residence if she is divorced, widowed or deserted.
  3. has every right to the assets she has earned or been gifted or been willed to her.
  4. She can dispose of her share as per her choice either by selling, through a will or by gifting to another person.
  • Married woman
    • A married female is the sole owner and has every right to the property that has been earned, willed or gifted to her. She does not always, however, have the right to ask for maintenance from her own family after she is married.
    • The clause to be kept in mind vis-a-vis property, is that married women have a right to their fathers’ property provided the demise of the father was after the year 2005.
    • A married woman has the right
  1. to gift what she owns in parts or as a whole to anyone without any interference
  2. to be provided with residence and receive maintenance from her husband
  3. If she’s a member of a joint family, she is entitled to receive support and shelter from the family, equal share as of her husband, jointly with his mother and her children ( if her husband dies), and a share equal as any other member, in the case of partition in the family
  • Mother,
    • being a Class I heir in the Inheritance Law, has the right to be provided with maintenance from her kids who can support her.
    • If she dies without leaving a will, her assets will be divided equally among her children irrespective of their gender.
    • She also has the right to dispose of her share of the real estate as per her wishes.
    • A widowed mother is entitled to equal share as of her son, in the case of a joint family.

A woman whether she is a daughter or a wife or a mother, deserves to get equal rights as her male counterpart. She should be treated with same respect and love as anyone else. Most of the women in India give up their careers and spend their life as homemakers. Thus, it is not only necessary but a responsibility to make sure that they do not suffer financially, physically or emotionally in case of any tragedy. It is essential to safeguard Property Rights of Women to secure their life. She deserves equal share as her brother in the property of her parents and as her husband in the property of her in-laws.

(ACT NO. XVIII OF 1937).
  [14th April, 1937]
     An Act to amend the Hindu Law governing Hindu Women’s Rights to Property.
    WHEREAS it is expedient to amend the Hindu Law to give better rights to women in respect of property; It is hereby enacted as follows:-
Short title and extent

1. (1) This Act may be called the Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act, 1937.

(2) It extends to the whole of 1[ Bangladesh].

2. Notwithstanding any rule of Hindu Law or custom to the contrary, the provisions of section 3 shall apply where a Hindu dies intestate leaving a widow.
Devolution of property

3. (1) When a Hindu governed by the Dayabhag School of Hindu Law dies intestate leaving any property, and when a Hindu governed by any other school of Hindu Law or by customary law dies intestate leaving separate property, his widow, or if there is more than one widow all his widows together, shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), be entitled in respect of property in respect of which he dies intestate to the same share as a son:

Provided that the widow of a predeceased son shall inherit in like manner as a son if there is no son surviving of such predeceased son, and shall inherit in like manner as a son’s son if there is surviving a son or son’s son of such predeceased son:

Provided further that the same provision shall apply mutatis mutandis to the widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son.

(2) When a Hindu governed by any school of Hindu Law other than the Dayabhag School or by customary law dies having at the time of his death an interest in a Hindu joint family property, his widow shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), have in the property the same interest as he himself had.

(3) Any interest devolving on a Hindu widow under the provisions of this section shall be the limited interest known as a Hindu Woman’s estate, provided however that she shall have the same right of claiming partition as a male owner.

(4) The provisions of this section shall not apply to an estate which by a customary or other rule of succession or by the terms of the grant applicable thereto descends to a single heir or to any property to which the Succession Act, 1925, applies.

4. Nothing in this Act shall apply to the property of any Hindu dying intestate before the commencement of this Act.
Meaning of expression “die intestate”
5. For the purposes of this Act, a person shall be deemed to die intestate in respect of all property of which he has not made a testamentary disposition which is capable of taking effect.