Dear Fathers, your daughters inherit more than genes from you
17 June, 2022
We’ve all heard it – children attributing talents, temperament, mannerisms and physical features to their fathers. While reading this, many of you might even be led to think about all the things you have inherited from your father. That’s how we have been created. But inheritances are not just limited to facial, physical and behavioral legacy. The one we want to draw your attention to, on the occasion of Father’s Day, is legal legacy, or legal inheritance.
The Indian Constitution guarantees gender equality before the law. Article 15 prevents the state from discriminating against any citizen of India or violating their equal rights on the basis of race, caste, religion, class, or sex etc. This equality cannot be achieved if women and girls are not economically independent. The right to inheritance is an important agency that empowers women and girls to secure this independence.
India does not have any uniform law regarding property ownership and inheritance rights of women, which means the law in matters pertaining to inheritance and sharing of property differs for people from different faiths.
Equal property rights of sons and daughters were recognised after the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 which stated that a daughter will have equal ownership in her father’s property even after she gets married. Prior to the amendment, daughters could only be ‘members’, not ‘coparceners’ (individuals who have a legal right to their ancestral property by birth). While coparceners could ask for partition and share of the property, members couldn’t. Once the daughter gets married, she stops being a member and therefore she loses her right to the share and maintenance of her father’s property.
In 2018, the Supreme Court made it clear that the law applies to any daughter, irrespective of whether they were born before or after the coming of the law and thus will be entitled to share in the father’s property
In 2020, the Supreme Court decision on property rights of daughters confirmed that sons, as well as daughters, indeed have exactly the same rights in the Joint Family Property. The inheritance rights of the daughter do not change upon her marriage, the death of her husband, the death of her father, or anything else for that matter. Hence, the case used what has now become a famous expression: "Once a daughter, always a daughter."
In another significant verdict, the Supreme Court in January, 2022, said the daughters of a Hindu male who dies without a will or intestate will inherit the property of the father. In such cases, the daughters will be given priority over other family members like sons and daughters of the father's siblings
In many families across the country, strong patriarchal traditions have translated into fear of violence by their male relatives, preventing women from fighting for their inheritance rights. It has been 18 years since the amendment of The Hindu Succession Act (2005), but a lot of women, even educated ones, are in the dark about their inheritance rights.
Here are 3 things every father/parent can do now to safeguard their daughter’s inheritance:
Stay informed on the different laws that apply to you as per your faith or custom
Draft a will. It is the best way to pass on assets. While nominations help in transferring movable assets like bank deposits or insurance policies, a will takes legal precedence over a nomination. Get a probate, if required, as it’s needed in some states
Talk to your daughter, as well as many others, about their inheritance rights. Spreading awareness about these rights is extremely important
ADF India’s Vanishing Girls campaign is calling for proactive efforts by the Centre and state governments to enforce every daughter’s right to inheritance. Let’s move towards a future where daughters can freely claim their legal inheritance just as they claim other inheritances from you.
Raise Your Hand
25th November is celebrated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At first thought, one can think of only two topics that comprise Violence against Women: domestic violence and rape - and (unfortunately) many times, they happen together. But when you think deeper about it, and realise how prevalent this issue is in our country, across classes, you understand that SEX-SELECTIVE ABORTION IS VIOLENCE TOO!
It is the first (and the last) experience of violence for many unborn girl children. Their sex is illegally detected and they breathe their last even before their first cry. And it's not just an act of brutal violence against the child, but the mother as well, as her body goes through the unnatural process of abortion, which, in many instances, is absolutely against her will, and wreaks havoc on her physical and mental health.
And this heinous and diabolical practice of SEX-SELECTIVE ABORTION is what ADF India's Vanishing Girls campaign advocates and fights against.
Here's what Vanishing Girls is asking you to do through the 16 days between 25th Nov & 10th December to raise awareness about SEX-SELECTIVE ABORTION as violence against women.
We want you to get on your social media network, on IG, reels, FB, WhatsApp statuses, and #RAISEYOURHAND. Raising one's hand is not just a metaphor for violence, but a way of voicing your opinion.
SO FOLLOW THESE STEPS 1. Draw an orange female icon symbol on your hand (Orange is UN's colour of choice for the observance) or us this Instagram filter 2. Get creative with what reel you choose to show that symbol: take on any trend that's floats your boat (we're sending some references) 3. Post it on IG, FB using #RaiseYourHand 4. Tag @Save_Our_VanishingGirls, and we'll repost your content
Isn't She Precious!
Every day in India, 7000 unborn girls are selectively aborted in the womb, just because they are girls. The discrimination against the girl child at birth continues in life and is based on the false premise that girls are a liability. It is important to counter this narrative and celebrate the inherent worth of girls.
January 24 has been commemorated as National Girl Child Day in India since 2008 to raise awareness on the need to protect and promote the girl child.
On January 24, 2021, a 40-day collaborative campaign is being launched by several likeminded organisations, to reinforce the message that Daughters Deserve LIFE, where LIFE stands for Love, Inheritance, Freedom and Equality.
Following the online launch event, various partnering organizations will lead workshops, rallies, awareness programs and webinars culminating on the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021.
Isn't She Precious! Campaign Launch on National Girl Child Day 24 Jan 2021: Register at: bit.ly/precious2021
Her Canvas 2021: a nationwide art competition inviting school students to paint, sketch or draw on the theme Isn’t She Precious!
Signature Campaign To Demand The Immediate Reinstatement Of PCPNDT Rules
In response to the the sudden and inexplicable suspension of Rule 8, Rule 9(8) and Rule 18A (6) of the PCPNDT (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Rules, 1996 on April 4, 2020, ADF India's Vanishing Girls Campaign launched an oline petition seeking the reinstatement of the suspended rules. Close to 1200 petitioners signed the campaign to save vanishing girls. ADF India submitted the petition on May 7, 2020 to the Hon'ble Union Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. We are currently awaiting an appointment with the Minister to share our concerns in greater detail.
Since 2012, October 11 has been marked as the International Day of the Girl by the United Nations. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
This year, Vanishing Girls Campaign marks the occasion by celebrating the girl child at Dilli Haat, Opposite INA Market, New Delhi on the theme #giveherLIFE (LIFE: Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality) on Friday, October 11, 2019 from 5 PM onwards.
The celebration will include musical performances by Zephyr, the acapella society of Kamla Nehru College and Swaranjali, the Indian music society and the band of Hansraj College, Delhi University. Asmita theatre, one of the leading Hindi theatre groups in the country will also awaken the audience on the issue of sex-selective abortions in India.
To join us in this celebration and to get free passes to the event: REGISTER HERE.