Write a short note on the status of women before the enactment of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 with respect to the property
Under Hindu law, property can be classified into parts 1) Separate Property 2) Joint Family Property
Separate property is that property which is acquired by person because of his own efforts and without any aid/assistance of joint family funds. According to Hindu Succession Act, 1956, separate property can be alienated either by succession or by will.
Whereas, Joint Family Property is devolved according to Mitakshara law school and according to this school, this property is devolved upon coparceners. According to Mitakshara law school, our society is patriarchal society, that is why, only male can acquire the property. Under this school, the position of women was very worst.
Before 1937, according to Mitakshara law school, only male coparceners had right to acquire the joint family property and if any coparcener died intestate then at that time because of doctrine of survivorship, the property was devolved upon the remaining coparceners and not upon the female heirs of deceased coparcener. At that time women had right to get maintenance from the surviving coparceners.
But after 1937, the concept of life estate was introduced and according to this concept, if coparcener died intestate then his property was not devolved upon surviving coparceners but was given to female heirs of deceased coparceners. The ownership was not given to them but only possession was given to them and they could enjoy the property till their death and after their death the property was devolved upon the surviving coparceners.
But after the enactment of Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the government restricted the concept of survivorship and according to this act, if any coparcener dies intestate then his property will not devolve upon surviving coparceners if any class- I female heir is alive and in this situation, the property will devolve according to the rules of Hindu Succession Act, 1956.