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Monday, July 15, 2024

Property rights of a Hindu woman can be divided into two distinct time phases—before and after 2005.

Property rights of a daughter before 2005

The Hindu Succession Act, which is applicable to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, recognises the concept of HUF—a family of people, lineally descended from a common ancestor and related with one another other by birth or marriage. These family members are further categorised as:

Members, and Coparceners
While the law recognised the men in the family as coparceners, the same stature was not given to daughters born in the family — all the daughters in the family were only Members of an HUF and not coparceners, before 2005.

Who was a coparcener under Hindu law 1956?
Under the Hindu succession law, the term coparcener denotes a person, who assumes a legal right in his ancestral property by her birth in an HUF. According to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, any individual born in an HUF becomes a coparcener by birth.

The rights of coparceners and members in the property of the HUF are different. Coparceners have the right to ask for partition of the property and to get the shares. Members of the HUF, like daughters and mothers, had the right of maintenance from HUF property, as well as to get a share in the property of the HUF as and when partition of the HUF took place. Upon marriage, the daughter would cease to be a member of the HUF of the father and would no longer be entitled to the right of maintenance or a share in HUF property, if the property were partitioned. As only a coparcener was entitled to become the Karta of the HUF, daughters were not entitled to become a Karta of the HUF and manage its affairs.

Daughter’s right to property after 2005
Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which deals with coparcener’s right in the HUF property, was amended in 2005. With this amendment, daughters were put at par with sons, as far as coparcenary rights in HUF property are concerned. Consequently, the daughter gets all the rights attached with coparcenary, including the right to ask for partition of the property and to become a Karta of the HUF.

The amendment came into effect on September 9, 2005.
However, only daughters born in the family got the coparcenary rights. Women, who come into the family by virtue of marriage are still treated as members only. Consequently, they are not entitled to ask for property partition. They are, nonetheless, entitled to maintenance and shares as and when partition takes place.

Married daughter’s rights under Hindu Succession Amendment Act 2005
After marriage, a daughter will cease to be a member of her parental HUF but will continue to be a coparcener. So, she is entitled to ask for partition of the HUF property and become the Karta of the HUF in case she happens to be eldest coparcener of her father’s HUF.

Even in case of a married daughter who has died, her children are entitled to the shares that she would have received, if she was alive on the date of the partition. In case none of her children are alive on the day of partition, the grandchildren will be entitled to the shares that the daughter would have received on partition.

However, a daughter cannot gift her share in the HUF property while she is alive but she can give away her share in an HUF property by way of a will. If she dies without leaving a will, her share in the joint property will not devolve on other members of the HUF but pass on to her legal heirs.

Can a daughter ask for partition of her ancestral property?
Daughters have the authority to ask for partition of property among family members and sale of their ancestral properties as much as sons.

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