Betis Are Forever: Daughters Have Equal Share to Property, Says Supreme Court

Gender

Betis Are Forever: Daughters Have Equal Share to Property, Says Supreme Court

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed a daughter’s right to ancestral property in a hearing by a three-judge bench. Justice Arun Mishra headed the bench, which also included Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah. A batch of appeals raised before the Supreme Court the question, “Does the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, which gave equal right to daughters in ancestral property, have a retrospective effect?” The bench’s judgement on the matter stressed the fact that the Hindu Succession Act does have a retrospective effect, and that a woman has equal inheritance rights regardless of whether her father was alive in 2005, the year in which the act was amended.

In its ruling, the bench observed that “Once a daughter, always a daughter… a son is a son till he is married.” It went on to add, “The daughter shall remain a coparcener (one who shares equally with others in inheritance of an undivided joint family property) throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not.”

The Supreme Court was hearing the batch of appeals about the retrospective powers of the Hindu Succession Act’s 2015 amendment. These appeals were due to contradictory rulings from courts in 2016 and 2018. However, today the court has reiterated that the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act has a retrospective effect, and that daughters will get to inherit an equal share of family property. The ruling has been heralded as an instance of the SC upholding gender equality. Many have praised it, including Rekha Sharma, the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, who welcomed it as well.

The bench also asked concerned courts to dispose matters pending due to this judgement within six months.

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