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What Are the Property Rights for Women in India?

Author
Blox Social
Posted on
Jan 29, 2023
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Traditionally, women in India have had limited property rights. Under Hindu law, which is still followed by a majority of the population, the property was passed down through the male line, and women were often denied inheritance rights. 

Thankfully, this has been changing over the years, and the laws have been reformed to give more property rights for women. Today, the modern Indian woman – whether unmarried or married – stands on the same footing as men when it comes to property rights. This comes on the back of a rising number of women home buyers and property investors in India. A 2021 survey by Anarock found that 62% of women preferred housing as an asset class. 

In this blog, we will take a look at what property rights for women in India currently look like.

Current Property Rights for Unmarried Women

Unmarried women in India have the same property rights as men. They have the right to own, inherit, and dispose of the property as they deem fit. Let us go over some of them. therefore:

  • Ownership of purchased property: An unmarried woman legally owns any property she bought before marriage using her own funds. She can do what she deems fit with the property. After getting married, a woman does not share such a property with their husband by law.
  • Right to ancestral property: Women, in general, have the right to any ancestral property by virtue of birth. They do not require any will or documents pertaining to the same.

Current Property Rights for Married Women

  • Inheritance of property

Under the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, married women in India have the right to inherit property from their parents and grandparents. However, they do not have the right to inherit property from their husbands. This law applies to Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist women. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, also gives married Muslim women the right to inherit property from their husbands. 

  • Purchase of property

According to the Hindu Succession Act (Sec 14), any property that has been bought in a married woman’s name becomes her absolute property. Married women can also claim any properties they partially funded but are in their husband's or children’s names. For that, they will have to show proof of purchase and funds paid.

  • Right to a husband’s properties (after his death)

Yes, a married woman can have a share in her husband’s properties after his death, but not during his lifetime. 

  • What if a husband threatens to throw out a married woman from their house? 

Legally, husbands cannot do that. Regardless of who the house belongs to, married women cannot be evicted from their house of residence after marriage. As such, married women can always seek the right to residence from their partners or in-laws.

  • Married Women’s Property Act 1874

This act provides many key legal property rights to married women, especially serving to protect their well-being. For example, under this act, a woman's property cannot be attached in case of any liability incurred or tax owed by the husband. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, property rights for women in India have come a long way in recent years. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that women have equal property rights. It is important to continue to raise awareness about these issues and to advocate for further legal reforms to protect the property rights of women. It is also crucial for society to change its attitude towards the property rights of women, and for women to be educated about their rights and how to assert them.

Additionally, there should be more effective enforcement of laws protecting women's property rights. This includes providing accessible legal aid and support to women who face discrimination or harassment when trying to claim their property rights.

In order to achieve true gender equality, it is imperative that women have equal property rights. This includes the right to own, inherit, and dispose of property without any discrimination. By working towards this goal, we can help to empower women and create a more just and equitable society for all.

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