HC to decide on widow’s right to seek partition of husband’s property

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There’s no clear answer to the questions concerning the right of a widow to seek partition of husband’s property, observed the Mumbai High Court. The court further observed that in today’s time when gender equality has become an absolute necessity to uplift the social status of women, a closure must be reached on the issue so as to ensure that the rights of a widow is not compromised with.

A bench comprising Justice A B Chaudhari made that observation while hearing the plea filed by Kalawati Karne, a widow who has been demanding the partition and her share in her deceased husband’s ancestral property.

“In the wake of the revolution for emancipation of women and for recognizing their rights as human beings equal to the males in respect of the properties in a Hindu family, I think depriving a widow simply because no other co-parcerners (inheritors) demand partition would clearly be destructive of the movement,” said Justice A B Chaudhari.

“This court would like to consider the said larger question,” he added.  To assist the court on the issue, Justice Chaudhari appointed advocate P N Joshi as an amicus curiae (friend of the court).

Under the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937, it was possible for a woman to seek partition. However, the law on the matter was amended with the introduction of the Hindu Succession Act in 1956 that conferred women’s right to be the absolute owner of a property.

Under this act, a woman could not demand partition of a property until the other male heirs of that property seek to divide their respective shares too.

It is worth mentioning that new Hindu Succession Act empowers women to reside in or claim the partition of properties just like their male counterparts.

The next hearing on the case has been scheduled on September 29, 2014.