DIVISION OF PROPERTY BETWEEN DAUGHTERS AND DAUGHTERS IN LAW

INTRODUCTION

The various roles that girls perform throughout their lives determine how they live. Depending on her status within the family, she has different rights and obligations. Be it a daughter, daughter-in-law, mother, or wife, each of these roles is distinct enough to require its own set of regulations that define her responsibilities and legal entitlements. The rights of their wives do not fall under the same category as those of their sons, who have been given the inherited power to claim the property that their parents had gained on their own. Additionally, when it comes to the in-laws’ self-acquired property, the rights of the daughter and daughter-in-law differ.Hindu Succession Act of 1956 governs property division in the case of Hindus (Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists).To know about the division of property between the daughters and daughters in law, we have to first know about their property rights separately.In this article to know the details of daughter’s right to property we will discuss about the sections, in “Hindu Succession Act 1956”and “Hindu Law” in details.
DAUGHTER’S RIGHT TO PROPERTY
Over the years, India has made significant progress in granting women the ability to inherit and possess property. The shift has been so profound that Indian women are now fairly outspoken and transparent about their money planning and management practises. One of the causes of this development is the evolution of Indian Succession Act.For instance, women’s inheritance rights were previously constrained by Hindu succession law. Daughters enjoyed this right only until they got married, whereas sons had full rights over their father’s possessions. However, the Hindu Succession Act was amended in 2005 to include daughters in the same rights, obligations, and liabilities that formerly applied only to boys.Before 2005’s amendment daughters were not treated as coparcener.There are few important case laws which will clarify the reason behind this amendment after which daughters of a hindu family were also treated as coparcener,they are as follows:-
a) Prakash v. Phulwati(2016)-In this case the respondent mentioned its claims saying that a daughter is having right on her father’s property by birth,irrespective of the date of the death of the father,which can be before or after the date of amendment.But the Supreme Court rejected the claims on the basis that the rights could have been granted only if the date of the death of the father was after 9th september,2020(the date from when the amendment was applicable).
b)Danamma v. Amar (2018)-In this case the claimants were two brothers who denied the property rights to their sisters saying that,since they were born prior to the enactment of the amendment,so no rights will be granted to them. But Supreme Court in this case interpreted section-6 of Hindu Succession Act and passed verdict in support of the daughters and said they are also coparcener, and whether they are born prior to the enactment date or not has no value after the amendment.Since this amendment was purely made to remove biased thoughts, Supreme Court passed a verdict in favour of the respondant.
c) Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma(2020)-In this case the Supreme Court ended the most burning argument. In this recent case, after some important observations,the Supreme Court passed a verdict where by it was decided that daughters are having full right by birth as same as sons and date death of the father is not taken into consideration even if has died before the enactment date of the amendment.Thus, after this, the section of Hindu Successeion act was interpreted and since then daughters are also treated as coparcener, and have property rights as same as the sons, by birth.

Daughters’ rights to inherit when the property is not inherited:

According to Hindu law, property is separated into inherited and self-acquired categories. A piece of property is considered ancestral if it has passed down through at least four generations of male lineage without being divided. The father purchased the self-acquired property with his own funds, in contrast.When inheriting an ancestor’s property, whether a daughter or a son, an equal part becomes due at the time of birth. The father, however, has the full right to dispose of the property in whatever way he sees fit if it is property that he self-acquired.If a father passes away intestate (without leaving a will), the property is distributed equally to each of the lawful heirs. This means that the mother and the children will receive equal shares of the father’s property, both inherited and self-acquired.Following the 2005 amendment, inheritance rights over inherited and self-acquired property,as previously mentioned, only sons had a share in the family’s property prior to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005; however, as a result of the amendment, daughters now have an equal share to sons in the family’s property.While the daughter cannot protest when it comes to self-acquired property, the father has the ability to give or leave the property to whomever he sees fit in his will.Therefore, a right to the property cannot be asserted if it is a self-acquired asset of the father and he gifted or left it to someone by his own will, free from coercion, undue influence, fraud, or misrepresentation.

Inheritable property once the daughter marries:

Since the Hindu Succession Act was amended in 2005, a daughter’s ability to inherit her father’s ancestral property is unaffected by her marital status. The amendment recognises a daughter as a coparcener in the ancestral property, which means she has a right by birth in the ancestral property. As a result, a daughter will have an equal stake in the ancestral property as a son even after marriage.

For further clarification of property rights given daughters we can also go through “Indian Succession Act 1925” and “Muslim Personal Law(Shariat) Application Act,1937” for knowing the property rights of daughters in other religion as well.We all know that India has a diverse population, making it challenging to apply a single set of laws and regulations to topics pertaining to family affairs. Personal laws for several religions regulate these issues for both men and women.The goal of the 1926 enactment of the Indian Succession Act was to codify the vast array of inheritance and succession-related legislation. The succession laws pertaining to Muslims and Hindus were, however, not covered by this Act.
Muslim inheritance laws

According to the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, Muslim personal law (Shariat) applies to Muslims in cases of non-testamentary succession. The Holy Quran, the Sunna, the Ijma, and the Qiya are the four sources of personal Islamic law that control Muslim succession rules. These laws are not codified. In Muslim law, there are two different categories of heirs: Sharers (those who are entitled to a specific portion of the deceased person’s property) and Residuaries (the ones who take up the share in the property that is left over after the sharers take their part). Contrary to the Hindu Succession Act, Muslim law does not recognise inheritance through birth but rather only upon death.
There is no discrimination between men’s and women’s rights under Islamic law. Both the male and female people inherit the inheritable property legally after the ancestor passes away. However, it has been observed that Muslim men receive twice as much of a share as Muslim women. The reason for this is because while men are obligated to support their wives and children, women receive Mehr and maintenance from their husbands.

Christian inheritance laws
The Indian Succession Act, 1925, specifically Sections 31 to 49 of this Act, governs Christians (and Jews). Christians inherit equally under this Act, regardless of gender. A daughter would inherit if the mother or father pass away intestate.
If a deceased person had a widow and lineal descendants as well as a widow, the widow would receive one-third of the estate while the lineal descendants would receive the other two-thirds. If there are no lineal descendants but there are living kindred, she will receive half of the share. If she is the only survivor and there are no living kindred or lineal descendants, the widow will receive the entire estate.

Parsi inheritance laws
For Parsis, the Indian Succession Act, 1925—more specifically, Sections 50 to 56 of this Act—applies to intestate succession issues. Males and females inherit equally in the Parsi community, regardless of gender.

Before we begin with the division of property we will now move on to know about the property rights of daughter’s in law in her in laws property.For knowing the property rights of daughters in law we will study few important sections from “Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act,2005”, “Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,1956, “Hindu Women’s Right to property Act,1937”.

Daughter-in-Law’s Property Rights
A daughter-in-law is given the status of a family member by the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) as of the date of her marriage, however this does not make her a coparcener. Due to her husband’s ownership interest in the property, the daughter-in-law gains access to it (either willfully transferred by the husband or received after the demise of the husband). The property that solely belongs to the her in laws cannot be claimed by her and is not considered shared property. The wife may assert a claim at the time of divorce if the property is listed as a joint possession of the husband and wife in accordance with women’s property rights. However daughter-in-law’s rights to her husband’s ancestors’ property are quite limited her husband’s share.The in-laws’ self-acquired .But an important point cannot be missed and it is necessary to mention that when a wife inherits her husband’s ancestral property legally,she has full rights to claim her husband’s ancestral property. India’s personal laws govern inheritance.The deceased mother-in-part law’s will be divided evenly among her children in this situation, and the daughter-in-law will gain rights to propertybut it is not subject to the rights of the daughters-in-law. Only because of her husband’s ownership interest in the property does she have legal claim to her in-laws’ property.

Women’s rights regarding their husbands’ and wives’ joint property:
A woman can assert her rights and contribution to the property in court at the time of divorce.If the property is solely owned by the husband in such a case, the woman cannot obtain her share of the property unless she can demonstrate the share she agreed to at the time the property was purchased.

Husband’s self-owned property:

According to the law, a wife is not entitled to a share of the husband’s property, which is exclusively registered in his name. The biological adult children can assert genetic rights on their father’s property if the relationship has children and they will live with their mother after the pair separates.
If the husband is providing support for his wife and their kids. The ownership title to his property will thereafter be in his possession.However,The husband has no legal authority to order his wife to leave the home if it is registered in his name. Women have the right to remain in their husbands’ home during the divorce procedure.

Women’s rights regarding her husband’s ancestral property:
The husband’s ancestors’ property is not subject to the wife’s rights.According to laws of HUF(Hindu Undivided Family) a wife or daughter-in-law has is not a coparcener,being added to the family does not makes her a coparcener.Ancestral property can only be claimed by biological children.But as said mentioned earlier that wife can claim rights according to laws if she is legally entitled to inherit her husband’s ancestral property.If a man marries another woman after divorcing his first wife and later has children with the second wife, the children may be entitled to inherit the property of the first wife.The court will divide the ancestral property evenly in such a case between the first wife’s firstborn and the second wife’s secondborn.When there is a mutual divorce and if the spouse owns the property. The wife has no legal claim to the property, according to the law. The person whose name is registered on the property is considered to be its legal owner in the eyes of the legal system. The individual in whose name the loan is provided would also be responsible for repaying the debt in the bank’s sight. If a property is solely registered in the name of a specific person, and that person is also the only one responsible for paying the home equity credit. Then, just like a divorce property settlement, the law grants possession of the property.Even then, the husband cannot evict the wife from the home in specific circumstances where she made no contribution. According to women’s property rights, she is allowed to remain in the home until the marriage is legally dissolved, which happens once the court rules that the husband and wife are legally separated. After their divorce, the wife is entitled to the husband’s support for herself and their children, but not the property portion as part of the divorce property settlement.However a married woman under section 17 of Domestic Violence Act,has complete right of residence in a shared household and no one can evict her, furthermore if she is facing domestic violence she can also seek reliefs under the provisions of this act.

Property Rights in a Joint Property of Divorced Women:
For a variety of reasons, including tax benefits, simple financial savings, or both partners tend to build up joint property and wife after divorce can claim her contribution as divorce property settlement which in turn can grant her contributed part. In the unlikely event that the property is only listed in the husband’s name, he is entitled to full ownership unless the wife can show that she was involved in its acquisition.The wife must provide evidence of her contributions to buy the property on her husband’s behalf in order for her to exercise her property rights. She can assert her rights by displaying the account statements. If a couple purchases a home together, it will be for joint ownership. However, a divorce will likely follow once the property is divided. According to women’s property rights, as a co-owner, the woman has the right to remain in the house until the divorce is finalised and the property is divided. Either the wife or the husband can initiate the settlement of their respective shares with the party seeking to keep the property. They are also liable to pay the share based on the current market. This can be done before or at the time of divorce.

What happens if the husband deserts the wife without getting a divorce?
The woman’s property rights indicate that she and her children have the right to claim their portion of the father’s property if the husband deserts her but does not file for divorce. The law grants the legal woman and her children partiality if the husband has children from another marriage. In the event that the husband owns a property, the original legal woman and her children will assert their claim to the property that belongs to their biological father.The children from the second marriage, together with the second wife, will claim their portion only from the father’s share in this scenario, making the father/husband the fourth stockholder of the property.

Moving on with further sections we must discuss about the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance act 1956,were a husband is liable to provide maintenance by section 18(2) of the act which provides few conditions where the wife can claim maintenance.Even if the wifeis having some source of income and some property she is still entitled to get maintenance by her husband whether paid monthly or in a lump sum amount.In Anita Thukral v. Shri Satbir Singh Thukral(2010) it was held that some medical expenses of the wife will be paid by the husband though she had a good apartment and some source of income but since she was unable to cover her medical expenses,it was paid by her husband as maintenance.This act further provides in section 18(3), that when a wife is involved in adultery or is involved in sexual relations with some one else or she has ceased to be a hindu.

Now we shall discuss important act which is Hindu Woman’s Rights to property act,1937, where we shall discuss how widows are entitle to her husband’s property if he dies intestate.Section 3 of this act specifies that when a Hindu dies intestate leaving any property, and when he dies intestate leaving separate property, his widow, or if there is more than one widow all his widows together shall be entitled to the property in respect of which he dies intestate to the same share as a son.Further more section3(2) states that at the time of death if the hindu person is having interest in a joint family property,after his death the widow shall have the same interest on the property as he himself had.Section 3(3) also states that the widow is having same right to claim partition as the male owner.

Moving to the end we shall now discuss about the division of property between the daughters and daughters in law.

Division of property(coming to the conclusion part)
As discussed earlier a Hindu Undivided family is recognised by Hindu law. All other guys are family members, and only males up to four generations (lineal descendants from a common ancestor) are coparceners. Following the 2005 change to the 1956 Act, a daughter, whether married or not, is a coparcener. After getting married, the daughter no longer belongs to her father’s HUF, but she is still a coparcener. The rights and obligations of a coparcener apply to a daughter.She has the right to ask for division and a birthright to the entire family estate.If she is the eldest coparcener, she can also be a Karta, or the leader of the family.Hindu Succession Act of 1956 governs property division in the case of Hindus (Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists).According to section 15 of the 1956 Act, if the daughter passes away intestate, her portion of the HUF property will transfer through succession to her legal heirs.Daughters are coparceners, while daughters-in-law are solely members of joint families.However coming to the point,when there is a division of property,since the daughters are treated as coparceners, she is having full rights over the property as the males of the family, but daughters in law are having no direct rights to the property,as said before the daughter-in-law is entitled to inherit the property only through her husband.The division comes in scene when the wife seeks divorce which is discussed in brief in above paras,also when she is a widow,she has claims over the property and the husband’s interest of the property gets transferred to the widow, when her husband dies intestate according to Hindu Woman Property Rights act.
After marriage the daughter of one family converts as the daughter-in-law of another family and in such a case she has full rights over her father’s property even after getting married but is having limited rights in her in laws property.Thus we can see that the division of property between daughters and daughters in law are governed by different laws.Inheritance and succession are two important matters which are already mentioned in this article.
Now ending this with concluding remarks, we can say that there are several cases few which are discussed in the first part of my article where women are denied their property rights but unbiased introduction of rules has helped to solve out this issue.However the share of property between daughters and daughters-in-law vary from each other.

Sources

  1. Hindu Succession Act 1956(BARE ACT)
  2. Indian Succession Act 1925(BARE ACT)
  3. Hindu Women’s Right to property,1937 Act
  4. Domestic Violence Act,2005
  5. https://blog.ipleaders.in/blog/?amp=1
  6. Finology Legal(youtube channel)

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