April 6, 2014 Leave a comment
This Act was passed to address the inequalities in succession to agricultural land, Mitakshara joint family property, parental dwelling house and certain widow’s rights.
One of the most significant amendments in the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 is the deletion of the gender discriminatory Section 4 (2) of the 1956 HSA. Section 4(2) exempted from the purview of the HSA significant interests in agricultural land, the inheritance of which was subject to the devolution rules specified in State-level tenurial laws.In States where these laws were silent on inheritance, the HSA applied by default, as also where the tenurial laws explicitly mention the HSA. But, in Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, the tenurial laws specified inheritance rules that were highly gender unequal. Primacy was given to male lineal descendants in the male line of descent and women came very low in the order of heirs.Also, women got only a limited estate and lost the land on remarriage.Moreover, in U.P. and Delhi, a “tenant” is defined so broadly that these inequalities effectively covered all agricultural land. U.P. alone has 1/6 of India’s population. This clause thus negatively affected innumerable women farmers.The 2005 Act brings all agricultural land on par with other property and makes Hindu women’s inheritance rights in land legally equal to men’s across States, overriding any inconsistent State laws. This can benefit millions of women dependent on agriculture for survival. Read more of this post