The Hindu Succession Act of 1956, whose ostensible purpose was to give women equal inheritance rights, actually ended up placing severe restrictions on women’s right to own and control property. Sons are treated as co-parceners by birth in joint family property — that is, they become equal partners with their fathers from the day of their birth, whereas daughters and wives are excluded. A wife or daughter has to wait for her husband/ father to die before she can claim a much smaller share than the sons in the joint family property. For example, if a family that is dividing co-parcenary property has two sons and two daughters, the share of the widow and the two daughters would be about one-sixth that of the son. • Even this share is often taken away. In most cases, daughters are forced into signing away their inheritance rights in favour of their brothers before they are married, presumably to prevent their husbands from encouraging them to claim their share. • Under the Hindu Succession Act, daughters are entitled to an equal share in self-acquired family property, if the father dies without making a will. However, after 1956, very few fathers leave this world before writing their testaments in favour of sons, and excluding daughters. This culture of disinheritance of women is an important reason why the culture of dowry is getting more widespread. • Andhra Pradesh, under NTR’s leadership, took the lead in amending the Hindu Succession Act and bestowing co-parcenary rights to women. It was followed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. But even in these States, women are persuaded to surrender their inheritance rights in favour of their brothers, thanks to the cultural conditioning which views daughters as temporary members of the family. Land ceiling laws systematically exclude women from inheriting land because our government laws recognise only the share of sons as worthy of computation when a family is dividing landed property. Even today, over 70 per cent of women live by working on the land. Their status in most cases is worse than that of wage labourers, who at least get daily payment. Women working on their family land are neither entitled to ownership of land nor the income accruing from it.
To actually achieve equal inheritance for all, the laws have been amended. In regard to succession to property among Hindus, the right by birth has been abolished and the Mitakshara School co-parcenary of Hindu Law has been converted into Dayabhaga School that means equal distribution of not only separate or self acquired properties of the diseased male, but also of undivided interests in coparcenary property. Daughter of a coparcener in a Hindu joint family governed by Mitakshara Law now is coparcener by birth in her own right in the same manner as a son; she has right of claim by survivorship and has same liabilities and disabilities as a son; now co-parcenary property to be divided and allotted in equal share. The theoretical reforms so far have not been adequate to give all Indian women a right to property on the same footing and terms as men. It varies with region and religion. Even where law has given a right, conventions and practices do not recognize them. Women themselves relinquish their rights. Women, as daughters, wives, daughters-in-law, mothers or sisters tend to lose out and often suffer deprivation. This further gets accentuated when they lose the security of the family, as single women, divorced/separated or widowed. Social awareness of the rights under law, attitudes to adhere to it and a mindset to change law and practice to ensure social justice is therefore urgent.After 2001 amendment women have equal right on property.
Therefore a social reform movement is necessary for such awareness and change of mindset. Since 'marriage' is the most traditional institution of initiating a family and preserving it, let registration of marriages be made compulsory It is suggested that to achieve more power for women we must Increase awareness of laws through education institutions, general awareness and legal awareness programmes; sensitize Judiciary, administrators and legislators about implementation of laws in letter and spirit; consider long pending recommendations for amendments of legal provisions on inheritance and strengthen the administrative machinery for the purpose.
And Finally You asked half a dozen maintenance laws (S. 24 HMA / S. 18 HAMA / DVA / S. 125 CrPC) will not be needed ever?The answer is that this laws remaining in force.women have right - equal share of property from their own parents and also their husband.women can ask property from their parents but after marriage their first right is on husband's property i.e maintenance and secondary she can also ask her right from their parents.My senior advocate face a case in which husband dies with no child and wife ask for property from her husband mother in law as husband mother in law only resides with her .Judge can persue for settlement but the party can not live together and so they decide to divide the property between wife and husband mother in law.In this you notice that she can also ask for her part(property) for her parents side.Laws are so much in favour for women that man are helpless.Yes it is true that law should be made for protecting women but it can not see who is right and wo is wrong ?So the answer is change the laws from time to time to remove defects.
O. Mahalakshmi (Law practiece) 21 August 2010
Women should be given half share. It is better thing. Because they are indiscriminately teasing and harassing by male. So they should be protected by adiquate Laws.