This Daughter’s Day, Know the Indian Laws Relating to Rights and Obligations of a Daughter.

Hindu Law

Until the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, was amended in 2005, the property rights of sons and daughters were different. While sons had complete right over their father’s property, daughters enjoyed this right only until they got married. After marriage, a daughter was supposed to become part of her husband’s family.

Daughters’ rights in Hindu Succession Act, 2005

  • On 9/9/2005, the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which governs the transference of property among Hindus, was altered.
  • According to the Act, every daughter, whether married or unmarried, is now considered a member of her father’s HUF. She can even be appointed as ‘Karta’/manager of father’s HUF property.
  • The amendment now provides for such laws that give daughters the same rights, duties, disabilities and liabilities that were earlier limited to sons.
  • However, a daughter can avail the benefits granted by the amendment only if her father passed away after 9/9 2005.
  • Moreover, the daughter is eligible to be a co-sharer mainly if the father and the daughter were alive on 9/9/ 2005.
  • Equal right to be coparceners.
  • A coparcenary includes the eldest member of a family and three generations.
  • Earlier, it was said to include a son, father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather.
  • Now women of the family can be a coparcener as well.
  • The coparceners obtain a right by birth over the coparcenary property.
  • A member of the coparcenary can further sell his /her share in the coparcenary to a third party.
  • A coparcener can file a suit asking partition of the coparcenary property but not a member.
  • Thus, a daughter, as a coparcener, can now demand the partition of her father’s property/business/house.

Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

Earlier when a daughter got married, she discontinued being part of her father’s HUF which was seen by many as curtailing women’s property rights. Under the Hindu law, a HUF is a group including more than one person, all lineal descendants of a common predecessor/ancestor. The term HUF is supposed to apply to by people of Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, or Sikh faith. Currently, the laws keep the daughters in consideration and take care of their interests too.

Christian Law

According to Christian Law, a daughter inherits equally irrespective of the fact whether she has siblings or not. She also has the complete right to the personal property upon attaining majority.

Muslim Law

Quranic laws of inheritance are extraordinarily specific. As per Muslim Law, daughters have right to maintenance and shelter in their parent’s house till they get married. Under Muslim law, both Sunni and Shia, a daughter is entitled to succeed to the property of the parents, yet there are customs and statutes, the operation of which excludes a daughter from inheritance. Such customs and statutes are treated as valid and daughters as non-existent at the time of opening of the succession.

Criminal Procedure Code,1973 :  Section 125

Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 enjoins not only the son but also the daughter to maintain her parents. It has been held by the Supreme Court in V.M. Arbat v. K.R. SawaV .

In what circumstances may the daughter be required to maintain her parents? The court held, when she has independent means of subsistence and can afford to maintain them. The requirement of ability to maintain is common to all persons who are required to support destitute relatives, be they husbands, fathers or sons. Thus “independent means of income” is an ingredient necessary for only the married daughter which translated into lay language would generally mean if the woman is working.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

In Section 2 (a) the word “Children” clearly states that it includes Son, daughter, grandson and grand daughter but does not include minor. It clearly states that Daughters are equally liable for maintenance and welfare of parents.

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