When it comes to dividing the share of a property in India, a daughter and a daughter-in-law are governed by different laws and enjoy rights in their own realm. To know about the different norms governing the division of property by inheritance and by succession, read on here.

Several instances have been reported in India where daughters and daughters-in-law have been deprived of their property rights. It is a lesser known fact that the women of the house, too, have the right to claim their share in the property just as the men. Nevertheless, the share of property transferred may considerably vary between the daughter and the daughter-in-law.

Update: In 2005, amendments were made to the Hindu Succession Act, as per which, daughters were allowed equal rights as coparceners. However, there was ambiguity in the matter as the amendment was followed from the day of the announcement, not considered for cases occurring before 2005. Clearing the air around this, on August 11, 2020, the Supreme Court (SC), in a landmark judgement, ruled that daughters possess equal rights as coparceners under the Hindu Succession Act, irrespective of the day the amendment came. The Apex Court claims that a daughter receives her coparcenary rights by birth. Thus, the rules under the Act apply even when the father was not alive at the time of amendments made in 2005. Moreover, the daughter’s marriage does not affect her rights to coparcenary property.

What does the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 state about Ancestral property?

“According to the amendment of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in 2005, Section 6 (1) of the Act grants daughter the status of a “coparcener” in Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). Black Law Dictionary defines "coparcener" as a person to whom an estate descends jointly, and who holds it as an entire estate, i.e. a person who has become a concurrent owner as a result of descent. Thus, a daughter as a coparcener shares equal property rights in a HUF property since birth. The daughter remains to be a coparcener irrespective of her marital status and can ask for partition of the HUF property. In addition, the daughter shall be subject to same liabilities as of that of a son, irrespective of her marital status (married, unmarried or widow),” avers, Advocate Sudhir Reddy, Founder, Reddy and Reddy Law Firm.”

In the case of the deceased daughter, her children shall be entitled to the share that she would have received if she was alive on the date of the partition. In case none of her children is alive on the day of partition, her grandchildren will be eligible to receive her share.

What are the property rights of a daughter as a coparcener?

  • The HUF property by birth;
  • Demand partition in a HUF property;
  • Be a Karta, if she is the eldest coparcener;
  • Right to the succession of her share in the HUF property to her legal heirs if she dies intestate

What are the property rights of a daughter-in-law?

On the other hand, HUF grants a daughter-in-law the status of a member of the HUF but does not make her a coparcener. The daughter-in-law acquires rights to HUF property through her husband’s share in the HUF property (either willfully transferred by the husband or received after the demise of the husband). The daughter-in-law cannot claim any rights on the property which exclusively belongs to her in-laws, and such property shall not be treated as shared property. In the case of deceased mother-in-law, her share will equally devolve amongst her children, and the daughter-in-law will acquire rights on her husband’s share only.

What are the property rights of the daughter regarding self-acquired property?

“In the case of a self-acquired property of father or mother, their son or daughter has no birthright over it. If the father or the mother dies intestate, the devolution of the property takes place as per Rules of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 under which the daughter is covered as Class I heir and has an equal right along with the son(s) and other legal heirs,” adds Sudhir.

What are the property rights of the daughter-in-law regarding self-acquired property?

However, daughters-in-law do not have right over the self-acquired property of her in-laws. She acquires right over in-laws property only through the share of her husband in the same.