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Comparative Chart of Women’s Inheritance Right, Under Hindu Succession Act

2. Agricultural land (Section 4(2):

Inheritance of agricultural land is subject to state-level tenurial laws and not to the Hindu Succession Act. Many of the tenurial law specify inheritance rules that are highly gender unequal.

3. The Mitakshara Joint Family Property (Section 6):

Class I heirs (male and female) as specified above have equal claims in a man’s “notional” share of the undivided joint family property. A man can however, will away his “notional” share.

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Son has additional independent birth right in joint family property, as a coparcener. Daughters cannot be coparcener.

4. Definition of Class I heirs (Schedule: reference to Section 8)

The Class I heirs of a Hindu male include the children of predeceased children, but these are recognised upto two generations for predeceased sons and only upto one generation for predeceased daughters.

5. Family Dwelling House (Section 23):

In a dwelling house wholly occupied by members of the deceased’s family, no female heir can claim partition, “until the male heirs choose to divide their respective shares” Daughters only have rights of residence, and only if unmarried, or deserted, separated or widowed.

6. Certain categories of widows (Section 24):

The widow of a pre-deceased son, or of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son or of a brother, is not entitled to inherit the intestate’s property as a widow, if on the date the succession opens she has re-married.

7. Testamentary Rights (Section 30):

Both men and women have full rights to will away their property, including their shares in joint family property.

After passing of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005:

No change, except for expanding, the list of Class I heirs for gender equality.

No change.

Inheritance rights in all agricultural land are subject to the Hindu Succession Act (overriding State laws inconsistent with the Act), and so effectively are now gender equal.

No change except in the specification of Class I heirs.

Substituted Section 6: Sons and daughters both have independent birth rights (and liabilities) as coparceners in joint family property. (These shares cannot be “willed away by the father.)

Schedule modified to include as class I heirs the children of predeceased children going down to two generations for both sons and daughters.

Section 23 omitted: Now daughters (unmarried or married) have the same rights as sons to reside in and to claim partition of the parental dwelling house.

Section 24 omitted: The mentioned categories of widows can inherit even if they have remarried.

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