Young spouses with minimal education or earning capacity are destined to be harassed by the husband as well as the husband’s family.
To exacerbate matters, one’s parents may not be very keen on providing support to their child besides the siblings may not be too keen on sharing the ancestral property.
In such a situation what would one do is the moot point.
Financial dependence, whether on the father, brothers or husband, has been the root cause of women being subservient historically. It was with the notion of creating a level playing field that fueled the Hindu Succession Act 1956 amended in 2005, permitting the daughter’s equal share in ancestral property. Notwithstanding the Succession Act 1956, the real question is whether one’s father can deprive his son or daughter of their rightful claim in the property or not.
If the property is ancestral
According to Hindu law, there are two types of property; ancestral and self-acquired. By definition, ancestral property is essentially four generations of an inherited undivided property with male heredity. Descendants, regardless of a daughter or son, has the birthright to an equal share in the property. Prior to 2005, only sons rather than daughters were claimants of shares in ancestral property. Therefore, legally, a father cannot will ancestral property to whomsoever he desires, or in other words, a daughter cannot be deprived of her share in the ancestral properties.
If father self-acquired property
In the case of self-acquired property, for example, where a father may have purchased a plot of land or house with the money he has earned, a daughter’s position becomes weaker. The father, in a situation like this, would have the right to gift the property or will the property to whomsoever he wants, and a daughter would be constrained to contest her father’s decision.
Death of the father intestate
If the father leaves no will and dies intestate, all legal heirs have an equal right to the property. The heirs of a male according to The Hindu Succession Act are categorized into four classes and the inheritable property can be claimed by Class I heirs including the widow, daughters, and sons, apart from anyone else. All heirs are claimants to a portion of the property, which essentially means being a daughter one would have the right to a share in the property of one’s father.
For married daughters
Prior to 2005, the Hindu Succession Act regarded daughters simply as members and not coparceners of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). Coparceners are the descendants of common lineage, with four generations, in the beginning, with a birthright to property that may be ancestral or self-acquired. Nonetheless, married daughters aren’t regarded as a member of the HUF. After the amendment in 2005, daughters have got the recognition of a coparcener and the fact that she may be married does not alter her claim over the property of her father.
The daughter was born or father’s death was before 2005
It hardly matters whether the birth of the daughter was prior to or after 9 September 2005, when the Act’s amendment was instituted. Both the son and the daughter would have equal rights to the property of the father regardless of whether the property is ancestral or self-acquired or the birth date of the daughter.
Conversely, if the father is alive as of 9 September 2005 then the daughter would be facilitated staking a claim over his property. If the father died prior to 2005, she would not have any right whatsoever on the ancestral property, and self-acquired property would be partitioned according to the will of the father.