Nandini’s father was always very proud of their family traditions. He was ecstatic to get her married to a family of similar values.
But these days, he often gets worried about her future.
After all, the future is often uncertain, especially for a family of soldiers.
A Tradition of Serving in the Army
Nandini’s father served in the Indian Army and retired as a Colonel. The family has a great love for the soldiers and the army’s way of life.
However, there is always a feeling of uncertainty as fighting terrorism or war can mean a sudden loss of life. Ownership of property can be a source of assurance in adversities.
Nandini is married to a soldier. Her husband was a bright student of NDA, Dehradun.
She has a brother who is also serving in the armed forces.
Women’s Property Rights in India
In India, the law surrounding inheritance and sharing of property differs for individuals from different faiths.
It means each community has its personal laws that vary from each other. Three of the most important laws about property sharing in India are the Hindu Succession Act of 2005, the Indian Succession Act of 1925, and the Muslim Personal Law Application Act of 1937.
The Hindu Succession Act of 2005 applies to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists. It governs the inheritance and sharing of property among members of these communities.
The Indian Succession Act of 1925 applies to Christians, Jews, and Parsis, governing the inheritance and sharing of property among these community members.
The Muslim Personal Law Application Act of 1937 applies to Muslims. As a result, these laws may have different provisions and rules regarding the rights and sharing of property for men and women.
Hindu Women’s Property Rights
It was legislated through the Women’s Right to Property Act of 1937 that on the intestate death of a man, or when a man dies without a will, the owner of the man’s estate will pass on to the man’s widow.
With the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the rights of women to property were further expanded and established.,
This legislation was focused on abolishing the devolution of a woman’s property post-marriage. Any property owned by a woman, whether through gift, bequeathment, or by purchase through her means, would remain the woman’s property even after the marriage. She would have absolute dispositional rights over such property, which would be passed on to the woman’s heirs after her death. However, as far as the Right to succession came, only male family members were considered coparceners, and dispositional powers of the property belonged solely to the male members of the family.
The amendment of this act in 2005 was revolutionary. It stated that the daughters would have equal coparcenary rights in Hindu Undivided Family properties irrespective of whether the father was alive or not.
Now, let us see the property rights of wives.
A wife is entitled to inherit an equal share of her husband’s property. However, if the husband has excluded her from his property through a will, she does not have a right to her husband’s property. Moreover, a wife has a right to her husband’s ancestral property. She has a right to reside in her marital home and a right to be maintained by her husband.
In the case of jointly owned properties with the husband, the wife has a share in a property that she jointly owns and her husband, even after divorce.
However, for her claim to be successful, she would need to show that she also contributed to the property’s purchase. If the wife has not contributed to the purchase of the property, but her name is just mentioned in the registration document, she may not get any share in the property. Furthermore, the wife’s share in the joint property is equal to the share she contributed. Hence, if contributing to joint property and their husbands, women should keep a document trail proving their contribution to the said property.
Let’s look at the property rights of women belonging to other religions.
Property Rights of Women Belonging to Other Religions
There is no difference between men’s and women’s rights when it comes to inheriting property from a deceased parent. The inheritance rights of married daughters are the same as those of unmarried daughters. Both are entitled to the same share of inheritance as their male siblings.
A Muslim woman subject to Muslim personal law is entitled to receive her 1/8 share of her husband’s property if the couple has children, and 1/4 of her husband’s property otherwise. A Christian woman is entitled to a predetermined share. The amount of this share depends on the identity of the deceased’s other relatives. She receives her entire estate if she has no children or other relatives.
Legal Support on Property Matters
You will often need professional legal support while dealing with real estate and such support can only be provided by large organisations with a deep repository of knowledge. Always consult with such organisations in property matters.