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SC Judgement Ensures Unconditional Right To Property Of Parents For Millions Of Indian Daughters

Today's landmark judgement by the SC ensures the absolute right of a Hindu daughter in her parents' property just like a son had till now by inheritance.

Today’s landmark judgement by the SC ensures the absolute right of a Hindu daughter in her parents’ property just like a son had till now by inheritance. 

“Once a daughter always a daughter”

Well, if society so lovingly says this about daughters, today the Supreme Court of India, the highest in the Law hierarchy, upheld it, and stated it in its historic judgement.

A landmark judgement by the three judge bench of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah of the Supreme Court of India removed all the ambiguities arising in the 2005 Amendments to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

Earlier the 2005 Amendments to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, recognised and provided an equal share to the daughter, whether married or not, in parental property, with the condition that the father and the daughter, both should be alive as on September 9, 2005, the day when the said amendment was made.

The amendment, though relevant, left a lot of ambiguity and provided loopholes to many to suit their purpose. It failed to cover all women in its ambit.

But today the Apex Court ruled out all ambiguities and stated that a daughter has equal right to property, thus recognizing her as a coparcener equal to a son, irrespective of her status or whether her father had been alive as on September 9, 2005, hence making the Amendment more open and its applicability without any conditions. Thus it has ensured that the scope of its implementation should reach all women in essence. Today it has become a law for all. A law that ensures equality for all women. Today there are no conditions attached to its application.

What does that mean?

The decision by the Apex Court of India is historic in itself. It gives daughters unequivocal inheritance rights to parental property.

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So a son and a daughter are both deemed equal. That’s now the law, and it leaves no ambiguity for its application.

The earlier Amendment was historic too, but did not recognise the absolute rights of a daughter as was the case of a son, and thus the enforceability defeated its basic purpose and intent. The son’s right to property has always been considered absolute and there are still no questions about it. But today’s law does say in loud words, crystal clear… Like Son, Like Daughter 

By removing the condition of the date, the court upheld the objective and rationale behind the previous judgement.

Does that mean change is coming?

With the court granting equal rights in property and leaving little scope for ambiguity and misinterpretation, definitely yes, a change is definitely in the offing.

Of course, in practical terms, the general mindset of society as a whole might take some time to come to terms with it and accept such decisions.

However, as it goes, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. For a change to become a constant, takes time. A mighty tree which we see today was once just a tiny seed’. By enforcing this law, the seeds of equality has been sown. Now we just have to wait for the tree to grow and shelter everyone alike, irrespective of the gender.

An end to discrimination?

A law in writing does not ensure an end to discrimination. For equality to become a practice, society needs to accept it. And going by the norms of the society it’s still a stigma to seek equal rights in the property. Society by its pressures and rules denies daughters their inheritance rights. The earlier amendment to the law too, by its various loopholes discriminated against daughters of the family.

But the judgement today is a welcome step in the right direction. It means an end to all those loopholes and ambiguities.

If today gender equality is recognised by law, by proper awareness the society will also accept it in times to come.

And for those women struggling and stranded in abusive and difficult marriages, where the parents also refuse to accept them, this amendment would ensure that they get their rightful share as recognised by law.

Today’s landmark judgement is one goal ticked and checked in our fight for gender equality. The list is long but so is our persistence- determined and strong.

If we have achieved this much, we shall do more. To the Apex Court, to all the women fighting for all of us… To all the good and better times ahead.. three cheers…

{An update on 21st January 2021: Even according to the above amendment, daughters were still not given their share if the division of a father’s property happened before 1956., But today, the Supreme Court ruled that daughters have equal right to father’s property to these properties too; that the law of inheritance would apply to partition of properties even if the father had died intestate before 1956.}

Image source: a still from the movie Thappad

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