Since this is an area of profound concern these days, and I’ve been facing endless queries on this, here is a basic & overly simplistic layman’s view on the law as it was before 2005 and after it vis-a-vis daughter’s right in joint family/coparcenory/ancestral properties among Hindus in India.
Concept of Joint Family in a nutshell
We all are aware of the concept of a Joint Family – wherein people related by blood/marriage descending from a common ancestor form a unit, live, work, worship together. This includes all sorts of people, sons/daughters (married, widowed or otherwise), mother, widows of sons etc. All these people have right to maintenance out of joint family properties and assets.
Within this group there is a narrower group called the coparcenory, with it’s constituents being referred to as the coparcenors have birth rights (ownership) in the joint family/ancestral properties, which they can get culled out anytime by a paritition, they have the right to sell/gift/will away their share of the property, they also have the power to assail any wrongful transfer of property made by Karta (Karta, for those who arrived late is the eldest lineal member of the family, entrusted with task of managing the property, Karta has the power to even alienate the whole of property in certain circumstantial compulsions).
Now before 2005 only son, son’s son, son’s son’s son were coparcenors, with the daughters only having a right to reside in the property and get their marriage expenses defrayed out of the same. A son would acquire proportionate ownership in the property moment of it’s conception, but not the girls.
Post 2005 – now a daughter also would acquire ownership rights on the property from the time of her conception (provided ofcourse she is born alive). She has the same rights of partition and power to deal with the property as she pleases, this right extends to seeking a partition and sale of the family home as well. Hence there is a complete parity in terms of rights. However it would be profitable to remind ourselves that these rights extend to only ancestral properties (or joint family properties – are properties which people inherit from their paternal ancestors/property through into common hotch potch/property acquired by joint family efforts/accretions etc) and not separate properties (which include property earned by gift/will/acquired through purchase from own funds/acquisitions from own skill etc.)
HOW TO ASSERT YOUR RIGHT ? FILING A SUIT FOR PARTITION
The Daughters (married, widowed or unmarried) now can approach the civil court for seeking a partition from their brothers/family/father etc. Their right is equal. Once acquired a lady is free to deal with the property the way she likes and it becomes her absolute property and her children have no right during her lifetime.
A Daughter can file a suit for partition, on which certain court fees is payable. This court fee depends on the value of her share in the property and has to be calculated as per court fee chart.
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