Written by:Adv. Pooja Gupta

Journey of Daughters Rights From 1956 to 2020

Introduction of The Journey of Daughters Rights From 1956 to 2020: – “Once a daughter, always a daughter. A “son is a son until he gets married”. In a landmark decision, in the case of Vineeta Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma, the Apex Court of India cited this in its ruling on August 11, 2020.

The Supreme Court’s ruling gave the property rights granted to a daughter in her father’s estate a new definition. According to the Court’s decision, daughters will have the same coparcenary rights in HUF (Hindu undivided family) assets irrespective of whether they were born before the 2005 Amendment to the H.S.A (Hindu Succession Act).

Hindu Succession Act, 1956

From 1956 until now, it has been a long journey to get here. The H.S.A of 1956, which was rooted in the.  (H.M.S) Hindu Mitakshara School, regulated Hindu succession as well as asset succession, but it only awarded these rights to males as legitimate heirs. As per HUF, a Hindu who inherits coparcenary property is one who accepts it from his or her parent, grandfather, or great-grandfather.

Daughters could not acquire the property prior to 2005 as they were not part of the interstate. The 1956 Act was revised in 2005, and as part of that revision, Section 6 was changed to consider a coparcener’s daughter as a coparcener by birth, giving her the same rights and obligations as if she were a son. Only inherited property is covered by this law; will-acquired property is not. Following the 2005 amendment, many issues arose, including whether the daughters’ rights were contingent upon the father’s survival at the time of the property’s inheritance. In various cases, the Supreme Court expressed various opinions.

Journey of Daughters Rights

Prakash v. Phulwati (2015)

One of the cases that were brought up was Prakash v. Phulwati (2015), where it was decided that daughters had no claim to the coparcenary property if the father (the coparcener) had passed away prior to September 9, 2005.

In Danamma v. Amar (2018)

The Apex Court in this instance, though, brought it back into sharp focus. The court determined that the daughters were equally entitled to the asset or property under the Amendment Act of 2005 even though the case was filed in 2002 and the preliminary decree was issued in 2007.

In this matter, the Apex Court relied on the 2011 decision in Ganduri Koteshwaramma & Anr. v. Chakiri Anadi & Anr., which held that a daughter’s right to coparcenary property is not forfeited simply because a preliminary decree was issued in the partition suit.

This supreme court’s decision contradicted the judgment on the matter of Prakash v. Phulwati. The date of the father’s death determines whether the daughter has rights to the coparcenary property or not, the court ruled in Prakash v. Phulwati. As a result, if a father is not alive on or after Sep 9, 2005, he has no rights regardless of whether the suit is pending or not.

Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma

In this landmark judgment, the court overturned the ruling in Prakash v. Phulwati and determined that a Hindu woman has a joint right to inherit her coparcenary or ancestral property regardless of whether her father is alive or not. Additionally, the Supreme Court issued all High Courts a six-month deadline to resolve cases that have been pending for years.

The court also explained some questions, stating that an unregistered verbal partition without proper documentation would not be recognized as a statutory procedure of partition and that if a property was already written in the name of an heir prior to the Amendment Act, the woman would not be legally allowed to claim any right or share in the property.

The decision made a powerful assertion in providing an accomplishment for gender equality, but it took nearly 15 years from 2005 to accomplish this. The court abided by Article 19 of the Indian Constitution by granting equal property rights to daughters and eliminating male supremacy as well as power and control over the ancestral property of Hindus. This judgment is a blessing for the women in families who lack financial means and are pushed aside by the male members.

We all know that male supremacy existence of society is deeply ingrained in the minds of the family members to pass on their ancestral properties to their sons or male heirs, so even though this landmark judgment is a very significant step further towards ensuring equitable property to Hindu women, it doesn’t assure that Indian families will grant these rights in their property to the women of their family. Therefore, it’s possible that most families will end up leaving their financial assets or properties to their male successors in their wills, blatantly disobeying the Supreme Court’s decision.

Conclusion of The Journey of Daughter’s Rights From 1956 to 2020

The majority of women, especially those from rural areas, are not even completely aware of these rights, making it crucial that there must be aware of these rights. As Helen Clerk has stated, “Any severe transformation towards more sustainable communities should include gender equality.” The decision would only be effective in an application if there is a fundamental change in this deeply ingrained patriarchal mindset.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can a married daughter inherit from her father?

Ans. YES, From a legal perspective, a married daughter is indeed entitled to a share of her father’s estate. She has the same rights as her unmarried sister or brother.

Q. Can a daughter make a claim on her father’s property after his death?

Ans. On January 21, the Supreme Court ruled that Hindu daughters would be entitled to inherit their father’s property if there were no other legal heirs. They would also be given preference over other family members in inheriting the property even if the father did not leave a will.

Q. What is the daughters’ share of the father’s property?

Ans. Act of 2005 amendment Hindu succession.
Additionally, the law stipulates that daughters & sons would each receive an equal share of their father’s property.

Q. Can the wife claim the assets of the husband’s parents?

Ans. Only the coparceners are entitled to ancestral property, as per Hindu Undivided Family laws. The wife is not considered a cohabitant under the law. But if the wife legally inherits something from the husband, she is entitled to the husband’s ancestral estate.

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