There are some very important legal rights for women that everyone must be aware of.
Concept of Joint Family
We all are aware of the concept of a Joint Family – wherein people related by blood/marriage descending from a common ancestor form a unit, live, work, worship together. This includes all sorts of people, sons/daughters (married, widowed or otherwise), mother, widows of sons etc. All these people have right to maintenance out of joint family properties and assets.
Before 2005 only son, son’s son were coparceners, with the daughters only having a right to reside in the property and get their marriage expenses defrayed out of the same. A son would acquire proportionate ownership in the property moment of it’s conception, but not the girls.
From 2005 a daughter also would acquire ownership rights on the property from the time of her conception (provided of course she is born alive). She has the same rights of partition and power to deal with the property as she pleases, this right extends to seeking a partition and sale of the family home as well. Hence there is a complete parity in terms of rights. However it would be profitable to remind ourselves that these rights extend to only ancestral properties (or joint family properties – are properties which people inherit from their paternal ancestors/property through into common hotch potch/property acquired by joint family efforts/accretions etc) and not separate properties (which include property earned by gift/will/acquired through purchase from own funds/acquisitions from own skill etc.)
But there is a rider – The right to get your equivalent share of the property can be exercised only in cases where there has been no formal partition (partition either through court final decree or through a registered partition deed) before 20.12.2004. In case a partition has already been finalized before the said date, the right collapses.
HOW TO ASSERT YOUR RIGHT? FILING A SUIT FOR PARTITION
The Daughters (married, widowed or unmarried) now can approach the civil court for seeking a partition from their brothers/family/father etc. Their right is equal. Once acquired a lady is free to deal with the property the way she likes and it becomes her absolute property and her children have no right during her lifetime.
A Daughter can file a suit for partition, on which certain court fees is payable. This court fee depends on the value of her share in the property and has to be calculated as per court fee chart.