The importance of laws governing inheritance is of considerable interest not only to the public, but also the economists and policymakers. It has been proven by studies both empirical and theoretical that transfer of physical capital from parents to children is a crucial determinant of households’ wealth and earning ability. Studies have also proven that when distribution of inherited wealth is highly unequal, its due impact on general economic inequality in the society is significant.
However despite the aforementioned setback caused due to inequality in inheritance, women’s ability to inherit property is restricted by law in many jurisdictions and India is one such jurisdiction. Law relating to succession can be broadly divided into two, non-testamentary or intestate succession law and testamentary succession law. The testamentary succession in India is governed through a unified legislation namely Indian Succession Act, 1925. The non-testamentary succession however is governed by separate personal laws. The non-testamentary succession legislation which applies to the Hindus is Hindu Succession Act, 1956. This act was hailed for its consolidation of Hindu laws on succession into one legislation and in many ways it was itself revolutionary in empowering women and eliminating disparity in the Hindu law of succession in India. For example the act abolished the Hindu woman's limited estate. Furthermore this act gave a Hindu female full power to deal with her property, to use it or to dispose it as she likes. Yet there were provisions which thwarted gender equality and gender justice. Attempts at invoking fundamental rights (Article 19, 15 and 21) only created confusion. Where on certain occasions the judiciary held ...
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...on gave all daughters, married and unmarried, the same rights as sons to reside in or seek partition of the family dwelling house. The deleted Section 23 did not allow married daughters unless they were separated, deserted or widowed residence rights in the parental home.
Deletion of Section 24
The amendment deleted Section 24 of the principal act. Section 24 of the principal act barred certain widows, such as those of predeceased sons, from inheriting the deceased's property if they had remarried.
Although the Amendment has been received positively and was rather ambitious, and was touted for being revolutionary in bringing down gender inequalities in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, yet the truth is that it has not removed all the gender inequalities in the legislation. Furthermore there are certain anomalies in the Act also which needs to be resolved.