Unfortunately, in some parts of India, girls did not always enjoy the same legal protections as their fathers when it came to inheritance. When compared to men, women have never been given equal treatment when it comes to inheritance rights or the ability to hold Property in their own right. Both women and men faced significant limitations on their ability to inherit and own property. The entire corpus of the Law of Inheritance has been modernised by new laws and amendments. The property is now owned equally by the daughters.
Property Rights of Daughter
Today, your gender as a woman is of little consequence for your property rights. Hence, the property share of daughters in India are almost entirely the same as the property rights of sons.
A daughter can acquire, hold, and dispose of, Property at par with any other man. Today, there are practically no restrictions on a woman's capacity to acquire, hold, and dispose of, her Property. Daughters have an equal share in their father's self-acquired Property as well as ancestral property. Daughters after the Supreme Court judgment of 2005 have become coparceners. Hence, they have equal rights in all Property, including agricultural lands. Both men and women are equally capable of holding their own, separate Property. Any restrictions on property rights are the same for all genders. Hence, daughters today have virtually equal rights in Property as a son does.
Equal Property Share for Daughters in India
Your gender as a woman does not place you at any significant disadvantage in the arena of inheritance rights.
As a daughter, you have the same inheritance rights as a son of your generation. Thus, a daughter has the same inheritance rights as a son; a granddaughter has essentially the same inheritance rights as a grandson, and so on. In most cases, the daughter is entitled to inherit the same share of her ancestors' Property as a son of the same generation is. Marriage does not affect a daughter's inheritance rights. A married daughter has the same right to Property as an unmarried daughter.
In India, the Law of Inheritance varies based on religion. The religion of the deceased governs, which Law of Inheritance will apply. Thus, Hindu Inheritance Law applies to the death of a Hindu, Christian Inheritance Law applies to the death of a Christian, Muslim Inheritance Law applies to a Muslim's death, etc.
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Hindu Property Law for Daughters
Both sons, and daughters, are equally capable of acquiring, holding, and disposing of their own property. There is almost complete equality between sons and daughters in this regard.
Over the past century, the Hindu Law of Succession has seen a significant development in the realm of inheritance. Indian property law for married daughter gave equal property rights compared to married sons. Through subsequent legislation and revisions, discrimination against daughters has been eliminated. After the enactment of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005, sons and daughters have nearly identical property rights.
Equal Rights of Daughters in Joint Family Property
In Hindu Law, for the purpose of inheritance, Property is classified into two types: (1) Joint Family Property and (2) Self-Acquired Property. Essentially, all Property inherited by a son from their father, paternal grandfather, and paternal great-grandfather is considered Joint Family Property. All other Property is considered Self-Acquired Property. Depending on where you reside in India, the character of these types of properties is either the same or different. In regions where this distinction is followed:
Joint Family Property is inherited differently (compared to Self-Acquired Property).
Multiple persons have rights over the Joint Family Property by birth. This is unlike Self-Acquired Property, over which rights can be acquired only if you have acquired them yourself.
The rights of both sons, and daughters, to inherit, acquire, hold, and dispose of the Self-Acquired Property of their ancestors is essentially the same everywhere.
In regions where this distinction is maintained, daughters have not had the same rights as sons in Joint Family Property for a considerable period of time. In terms of both their rights to control the property and their rights to inherit it, daughters lagged behind sons. Over the past century, law after legislation has gradually diminished this inequity. With the passage of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act of 2005, sons and daughters now have equal rights to inherit their forefathers' Joint Family Property.
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In 2020, the Supreme Court decision on property rights of daughters, Vineeta Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma, confirmed that sons, and daughters, indeed have exactly the same rights in the Joint Family Property. The inheritance rights of the daughter do not change on her marriage, the death of her husband, the death of her father, or anything else for that matter. Hence, the case used what has now become a famous expression: "once a daughter, always a daughter." Thus, an unmarried daughter and a married daughter are all entitled to the same property rights in the Joint Family Property of their parents. A daughter-in-law is too entitled to inherit her father-in-law's Property. This rule holds true for a widowed daughter-in-law as well. As long as the daughter is alive, she is entitled to control and inherit her ancestors' Joint Family Property at par with a son.