- Karnataka High Court has said that when a father gifts something to her daughter in marriage, then it is part of the property he is gifting
- Earlier, the dowry and Hindu Succession act made the inheritance system biased against the male child
- The judgment is expected to bring balance to the highly polarized gender debate in India
Ever since India gained independence, the primary focus of our polity has been to give equal rights to both men and women. However, sometimes the quest went too far by undermining the rights of men. A landmark decision on women’s inheritance rights is expected to start a conversation about balancing the conversation around gender discourse.
Gifts during marriage are property transfer
Karnataka High Court has clearly demarcated the line between properties owned by the daughter in different circumstances. It has established that if a girl has been gifted certain property during her marriage, then that will be considered as part of her share in family property and not a special privilege afforded to her at the expense of other siblings.
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Property rights in India
Section 6(1) (b) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 says, “The daughter of a coparcener shall have the same rights in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son”.
The aforementioned clause established that a girl would have an equal share in her family property as that of her brother. However, it is also a custom in Hindu marriages that families offer gifts to their daughters during their marriages. The gifts can range from clothing to jewellery to a portion of the father’s property.
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Case in issue
The discrepancy arose due to the status of this gift. In the present case, a father had effectively handed over some properties to his daughter at the time of her marriage. Later, when the property dispute arose in the woman’s maternal family, she asked to not include the house given by her father to be counted in property already given to her.
The Lower Court did not accept this demand and gave the decision against the woman. Later, she appealed to Karnataka High Court for what she thought was an injustice to her. However, the High Court categorically refused to reverse the judgment of the Lower Court.
Karnataka High Court draws the line
Commenting on the opaqueness created by the woman, Justice Suraj Govindarajan said, “In my opinion the beneficiary of section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act cannot claim the benefit of partition in a joint family unless she has disclosed the property acquired at the time of marriage.”
Establishing that the gift by her father is a share from his property, Justice Govindarajan added, “Those properties, which were once part of a joint family and have been received by the plaintiff, will also have to form part of the partition.”
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Judgment is balanced
The judgment also tries to solve the dichotomy between impractical dowry laws and the division of property between siblings. Despite decades of campaigns against dowry, it has not stopped. So, a girl child would end up getting a larger share in property due to the combination of dowry and Hindu succession act.
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Here is how it happens
Suppose a family has two children: one boy and one girl. Now, when the daughter is getting married, she is getting hefty gifts from her parents, which our laws call dowry. On the other hand, due to the Hindu succession act, she gets half of the remaining property which was earlier used by the son of the family. This meant that son would get a disproportionately low number of resources from his parents.
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Through this judgment, Court has rightly drawn a boundary around various women-centric laws promoting female entitlement instead of gender equality.
Very appropriate judgement. Many a time if the father’s property is pledged for conducting the wedding of the daughter and the son has to redeem it, still the share becomes equal and ends in disproportionate share going to the son. According to Hindu family, it is the son who takes care of the family and if there are expenses such as repairs etc., in the property he also shares it, but when it comes to sharing the property it becomes equal. Same with taking care of parents and their needs. Only property is share equally but not responsibility. Similarly the boy has to give gifts during several occasions to the sister which is part of Hindu tradition. But the converse does not happen.
The law appears lopsided and not in line with the Hindu traditions.
This is just one of the many drawbacks of so called India’s flawed Equal Rights that constitution talks of but in reality India’s constitution is full of bias against Men over Women, bias against Hindus over minorities, against forward castes over backward castes and the list goes on endlessly with no light at the end of the tunnel.
When it comes to paying Taxes, everyone is Equally responsible but when it comes to the distribution of resources, benefits the full bias starts immediately with minorities, backward castes and women enjoying higher share over Hindus, Forward Castes and Men.
If all people of the country are Equal in the eyes of constitution and in the eyes of Tax Laws, why Govt still continuing with Caste based reservations, biased distribution of benefits, biased property inference laws? and our so called woke, knee jerk, Mi Lords instead of fixing this Rotten decades old judiciary system all they do is enjoy long Summer Holidays, Winter Holidays, privileged tax payer benefits and when they get bored from the long holidays, try their best to destroy the Hindus and their lives.