Crime & Justice

Indian supreme court ratifies women’s right to ancestral property

New Delhi, Jan 21 (EFE).- The Supreme Court of India on Friday ratified the daughters’ right to inherit ancestral properties after the death of their father, independent of the right to survivorship, reiterating the right to equality before law.

“If a property of a male Hindu dying intestate (without a will) is a self-acquired property or obtained in the partition of a coparcenary or a family property, the same would devolve by inheritance and not by survivorship, and a daughter of such a male Hindu would be entitled to inherit such property in preference to other collaterals,” the top court said.

The jurisprudence was part of a verdict by the court on an appeal against a 2009 Madras High Court decision over a daughter’s right to inherit her father’s self-acquired properties over the male heirs of her father’s family.

The top court said that the daughters’ rights as heirs come before the survivorship principle, according to which family property should be passed on to the closest male descendent of the deceased man or the head of the family.

The survivorship principle, laid down in Hindu laws for over half a century, seeks to guarantee that a property remains in the hands of the family and to prevent it from being passed on to others through the daughters’ marriages.

In this regard, the top court clarified that “if a female Hindu dies intestate without leaving any issue, then the property inherited by her from her father or mother would go to the heirs of her father whereas the property inherited from her husband or father-in-law would go to the heirs of the husband.”

In recent years the Indian judiciary has tried to remove systematic inequalities in Indian law and society, which have historically favored men over women, due to the belief that only males can carry forwards the family legacy and lineage.

The idea is at times accepted even by Indian women, who renounce their rights to property in favor of their brothers after getting married. EFE


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