Learn all about the property rights of women in India so you know about women’s inheritance rights and how to take legal action to protect your legal rights.
What are your rights when it comes to ancestral property, father’s property, in-laws’ property, husband’s property or self-acquired property (purchased with your own money)?
What can you claim in case of a property dispute? Do you want to know your property rights? Indian law has several legal remedies for women, so you don’t need to suffer in silence or be cheated out of your property.
It’s time to become more aware when it comes to the property rights of women in India, so we got SHEROES Champion, Advocate Aparna Jayaram, and other real estate experts, to answer questions about Indian laws on women’s right to property in India.
The Indian Woman’s Guide To Property Rights Of Women In India
Are you facing property disputes or feel that you’re being cheated out of your property? Learn all about the property rights of women in India so you know your inheritance rights and how to take legal action to protect your rights.
- What is the history of women’s property rights in India? What were women’s property rights in ancient India?
Different religions have had different property rights down the ages. For instance, in medieval periods, practices such as Sati, child marriage and a ban on widow remarriages were quite prevalent.
Hindu Kshatriya rulers widely practised polygamy and as such women had no property rights during this period. This gradually changed over the years with the inclusion of women, at least in part, mainly in the absence of male heirs.
It was only in 2005 that the Supreme Court passed the landmark decision where women would have an equal right to a share in property as men, granting daughters the right to inherit ancestral property along with male relatives.
- What is the Women’s Right To Property Act In India?
Given that India is home to diverse religions and is yet to have a Uniform Civil Code, the laws pertaining to women’s right to inheritance and sharing of property differ across varied faiths.
In fact, even within varied religious groups, there are sub-groups, local customs and norms with respect to property rights. However, two important laws in regard to property share include the Hindu Succession Act, 2005 and the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
- What is the status of women’s land ownership rights in India?
Although the Constitution of India provides equal rights to men and women, the latter’s access to land is largely through inheritance which, as mentioned earlier, is governed by varied religions, customs, and regions.
However, in a positive step, various central government policies support and promote women’s homeownership in India.
For instance, to avail homes under the government’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) introduced in 2015, the homes have to be mandatorily registered either in a woman’s name or with women as co-owners.
- What is the status of women’s inheritance rights in India?
There are various succession Acts of different religions that determine women’s right to property and inheritance. For instance, the 2005 amendment to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act gives equal rights to daughters in ancestral property. They now have equal rights in the property as sons.
- What are women’s rights to their father’s property in India?
As mentioned earlier, according to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 Section 6 daughters have equal right to inherit ancestral property along with male relatives. On the other hand, as per Muslim law, the son inherits twice as much as a daughter.
- Is there still gender inequality in property ownership in India?
Although the property rights of Indian women have evolved significantly in the last century, due to the continuing struggle between the status quo-ists and the progressive forces, it still remains unequal and unfair.
There is no uniformity with respect to the property rights of women largely because India has varied religions sans a Uniform Civil Code.
- What is the status of women’s property rights in India in 2021?
Women’s property rights in India are highly fragmented and continue to be immune from the Constitution’s guarantee of equality and justice to all men and women.
It depends on several factors such as religion, community, geographical region, whether she is a daughter or wife or mother, her marital status (married/unmarried/deserted/widow etc.), the kind of property – ancestral or self-acquired, land, house etc.
- What is the legal status of married women’s property rights in India?
According to both Muslim and Hindu laws, a married woman has exclusive rights over her individual property. She is the sole owner and manager of her own assets whether she has earned it, inherited it or it has been gifted to her.
- Does a husband have the right to his wife’s property in India?
If the woman is alive, the husband has no right over a woman’s self-acquired property or ancestral property.
However, after the death, the husband has a right over the property. If the wife dies without executing a will, her husband and children will succeed her in the ancestral property rights.
- What are the property rights of the wife in India during a divorce?
When divorced, a wife can claim maintenance and livelihood costs for herself and their kids but not claim any property share (if the property is registered in the husband’s name) as a divorce property settlement.
In the case of joint property ownership, the wife can stake a claim. Based on her contribution, if any, she may get her contributed share.
- What are the legal rights of widows in India with regards to the property? What is the legal status of Hindu women’s property rights in India?
As per the Muslim law, a widow inherits one-eighth of the property from her husband if there are children, or one fourth if there are none. If there is more than one wife, then her share is reduced to one-sixteenth.
In instances where there is no one to share, the wife may inherit a greater amount by will. As per Hindu law, the property of the husband is equally divided between the wife and the children.
- What is the status of Christian women’s property rights in India?
Daughters have an equal share with any brother or sister over their parent’s property or properties. In case of her husband’s death, she is entitled to at least one-third share of his property, the rest being divided among the children equally.
- What is the women’s property act in Tamil Nadu? What is the legal status of women’s property rights in Tamil Nadu?
Like anywhere, the property rights of women in Tamil Nadu depends on factors like her religion, marital status, if she is tribal or non-tribal and so on.
However, even before the Supreme Court in 2005 passed the Hindu Succession Act giving equal rights to women, Tamil Nadu passed the Hindu Succession (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act in 1989 itself, giving equal rights to women as men in ancestral property.
- What is the legal status of women’s property rights in Andhra Pradesh?
Just like its neighbour Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, too, has been more progressive in its legislation towards women rights on the property.
Here too the Hindu Succession Act gives equal rights to daughters. Moreover, daughters can also force partition of any ancestral property, if the share is denied or delayed to them.
- What are easement rights in India?
Easements are non-possessory interests in real property. More simply, an easement is the right to use another’s property for a specific purpose.
An easement is a right which the owner of a property has to compel the owner of another property to allow something to be done, or to refrain from doing something. For example, right of way, right to light, right to air etc.
You can find more legal advice and answers about female property rights in India from Advocate Aparna Jayaram who answered questions on women’s property inheritance rights in India.
Become aware of your legal rights and get free legal advice online for women from lawyers and legal experts in the Legal Rights For Women In India Community on the SHEROES app for women.
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