For a long time, the concept of succession or inheritance of property has been synonymous with how and what the son will get. Right of a son in the property of his father has always been a matter of concern and discussion.
In a society which primarily rests on the patriarchal style of relationships, it is very heartening and interesting when people seek to understand or to discuss a question relating to the right of a woman (daughter) in the property of her mother. That’s one sure sign that we have progressed in the sphere of rights of woman.
A woman, thankfully, is viewed as the absolute owner of her property.
- She has the right to deal with her property in any manner.
- As a necessary corollary to the above, we have moved a step further and also recognize the rights of the children in the property of their mother.
- Daughters, even though married, have the right to inherit the property of their mother.
- Law has always recognised a distinction between self-acquired and ancestral property.
- It is there primarily to decide inheritance issues.
- Under Hindu Law, a mother becomes the absolute owner of the property – whether she gets it through a Will or as a gift or by any other means. It becomes a self-acquired property for her.
- If the mother has inherited ancestral property from her father (i.e. maternal grandfather of her children), although the property is ancestral, it becomes the self-acquired property of the mother.
- Self-acquired property of a person can be disposed of by the person in any manner.
- No legal heir has any right over such property during the lifetime of the person.
- It is only if the person has died intestate; the question of right in his self-acquired property arises.
- In the case of intestate succession, the devolution of property is governed by statutory or personal laws. For persons of Hindu faith, the relevant provision of law is found in the Hindu Succession Act.
- During the lifetime of the mother, married daughter has no right to seek her property.
Under Hindu Law, daughters have equal rights as sons in the property of their mother.
For right in the self-acquired property of a mother, it is essential to understand two things:
- All the property acquired by a woman becomes self-acquired property.
- Self-acquired property can be disposed of in any manner.
- Any right in the self-acquired property arises whenever the person dies intestate
If a Hindu mother dies intestate, the property gets devolved as per the Hindu Succession Act.
The Act says that the property of a woman gets devolved to
- her children
- the children of predeceased children
- her husband
All these three legal heirs inherit equally.
There is no distinction in the Act for married or unmarried daughters. Thus whether the daughter is married or unmarried, she gets equal rights in the self-acquired property of her mother along with her brother and husband of the deceased woman.
The property of a mother also includes any share of the mother in her father’s ancestral property. Once this property is partitioned and the mother gets her share, the share becomes self-acquired property. Even if the mother has died before partition, her children can claim this share later after partition.
In the eyes of the law, Married daughters can enforce their right by filing a suit in the court for devolution of property as per the Hindu Succession Act.
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