In the early ages, because of the patriarchal society in which we lived, women have always been considered lower to men in respect of their rights, dignity, and significance. But in today’s era, the story is altogether different. Today daughters and women enjoy equal rights in every field and society. Due to the enactment of various legislations and inclusions of various women-oriented provisions in existing laws, women, as well as daughters both, have an equal stratum in the Indian society.
Same applied to the property rights too. With amendments in the existing law, now even daughters have equal rights in the parental property just like sons. Until 2005, these property rights were different for both sons and daughters in the Hindu Succession Act of 1956. So, let’s understand these amended rights in detail:
Situation before the amendment
The Hindu Succession Act is applicable to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists. In the original law of 1956, daughters can enjoy rights on father’s property only until they got married. After marriage, a daughter was supposed to become part of her husband’s family.
Under the Hindu law, a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) is a group comprising more than one person, all lineal descendants of a common ancestor. The people who are so descended from commons ancestors were divided into two parts. The first category is coparceners in which only males were recognised as coparceners of the HUF and all the females were called members. Females cannot become coparceners.
Even the rights of coparceners and members were different in the property. While, coparceners have the right to ask for partition and get the shares, on the other hand, members like daughters and mothers, had just the right of maintenance from HUF property, as well as to get a share in the property before marriage only. After marriage, the daughter cannot enjoy this right. As only a coparcener was entitled to become the Karta of the family, the female members were not entitled to become a Karta of the HUF and manage its affairs.
Story after the amendment
On September 9, 2005, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which governs the devolution of property among Hindus, was amended. Now according to the new law, every daughter, whether married or unmarried, is considered a member of her father’s HUF and can even be appointed as ‘karta’ of his HUF property. With this amendment, now even daughters can enjoy the same rights, duties, liabilities, and disabilities that were earlier limited to sons.
Even in case of a married daughter who has died, her children shall be entitled to the shares that she would have received if she was alive on the date of the partition. In case none of her children are alive on the day of partition, the grandchildren will be entitled to the shares that the daughter would have received on the partition.
The interesting part is that the daughter cannot gift her share in the HUF property but she is fully capable of giving away her share in the HUF property by way of a will while she is alive.