TomorrowMakers

Indian women have been marginalised for many years. Find out everything there is to know about women’s right to property.

Rights to ancestral property: What every Indian woman must know

Indian women have been marginalised for centuries. However, with education, things are now changing. The women of today are not only following their duties as mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. They are also motivated to learn their rights so that they can live more secure lives.

When it comes to women and their well-being, financial independence is paramount. Real estate is a key financial asset that can offer women financial security. Unfortunately, there still remains a lot of ambiguity about the rights of women to their ancestral property. This article simplifies these doubts, so women can make informed decisions to secure their future and inherit what is rightfully theirs.

What does Indian law say about the property rights of women in India? 

Since India is a country with many diverse cultures, there is no single Uniform Civil Code for all. The laws for property inheritance for women can differ for different faiths and genders. However, there are three laws in the country that have been designed for settling matters of property. These are:

  • Hindu Succession Act, 2005: The act applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and anyone else who does not identify as Muslim or Christian, Jew, or Parsi. However, any woman who commits murder or converts to a religion not governed under this act will lose the rights awarded to women with the Hindu Succession Act, 2005.
  • Indian Succession Act, 1925: This act applies to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jews in the case of property transfer via a registered will.
  • Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937: As the name suggests, the act applies to Muslims if there is no registered will in place.

Related: A Daughter's Guide To Understanding Right To Property

Can women claim ancestral property?

Yes, according to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, women have equal ownership of ancestral property as sons. This equal status was granted to women after the amendment to the act was announced on September 9 2005. Even if the father does not include the daughter in the will, the daughter can contest this in court.

Can Christian and Muslim women also have an equal share in their father’s property? 

As per Christian law, a daughter can inherit property just like the son. However, as per Muslim law, the daughter is entitled to only half of the share that is given to the son.

What documents do women require if they want to fight a legal battle?

Women who wish to fight a legal battle can do so with a legal heir certificate. This document can be obtained from the tahsildar. You can then get a succession certificate from the court.

Do Indian women have any rights over their husband's property?

Women’s rights to their husbands' properties can differ depending on the person’s faith. Given below are the laws for each faith:

  • In the case of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains: The husband’s property is divided among the wife and children equally. In the case of divorced couples, the ex-wife will not have any claim over the ex-husband’s property. However, the children may inherit the property. In the case of widows, the wife and children have an equal share in the deceased husband’s property.
  • In the case of Muslims: Muslim women with children can claim up to 1/8th of their predeceased husband’s property. However, if there are no children, women can claim up to 1/4th of the property.
  • In the case of Christians, Parsi, and Jews: Women can claim up to 1/3rd of the property of the predeceased husband in the case of children. If there are no children, women can claim half of the share.

Related: Divorce: Who Has The Rights To The Property?

Conclusion

Knowing basic laws and rights can help women fight for their share and live a more protected life. Also, read Inheritance tax: How has the pandemic amplified its importance.