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(specifically in Sec 6 of the HSA, 1956) after the 2005 Amendment (431)

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Shelly Saluja and Soumya Saxena - NLIU Law Student

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Introduction
The Constitution of India provides that every person is entitled for equality before law and equal protection of the laws and thereby prohibits discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and sex. The discrimination on the basis of sex is permissible only as protective measures to the female citizens as there is need to empower women who have suffered gender discrimination for centuries. Empowerment of women, leading to an equal social status with men hinges, among other things, on their right to hold and inherit property. Civilized societies across the globe ensure that women's inheritance rights are more secure than those of men because women take on the tremendous responsibility of producing and nurturing the next generation. In India, women's rights have suffered serious setbacks among all communities. Before 1956

Despite the Hindu Succession Act being passed in 1956, which gave women equal inheritance rights with men, the mitakshara coparcenary system was retained and the government refused to abolish the system of joint family. According to this system, in the case of a joint family, the daughter gets a smaller share than the son . While dividing the father's
property between the mother, brother and sister, the share is equal.

The Constitution of India enshrines the principle of gender equality in its Preamble and Parts III, IV and IVA pertaining to Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles respectively. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. And now as India becomes increasingly aware of the need for equal rights for women, the government can't afford to overlook, property rights have a deep impact on the national economy. The need to dispense gender justice raises deep political debate and at times acrimony in legislative forums. This enthused the ?house? to move a bill to make amendments in the Hindu Succession Act, to secure the rights of women in the area of property.

The aim is to end gender discrimination in Mitakshara coparcenary by including daughters in the system. Mitakshara is one of the two schools of Hindu Law but it prevails in a large part of the country. Under this, a son, son's son, great grandson and great great grandson have a right by birth to ancestral property or properties in the hands of the father and their interest is equal to that of the father. The group having this right is termed a coparcenary. The coparcenary is at present confined to
male members of the joint family, it has been further elucidated in the project.

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 is a landmark. After 50 years, the Government finally addressed some persisting gender inequalities in the 1956 Hindu Succession Act (1956 HSA), which itself was path-breaking. The 2005 Act covers inequalities on several fronts:

agricultural land; Mitakshara joint family property; parental dwelling house; and certain widow's. The amendment has come into operation from 2005; our project makes an analysis of this amendment, in that specifically dealing with changes brought in the woman's property rights in Mitakshara joint family property, what effects it will have on the position of women, loopholes in the amendment, its advantages and disadvantages and few suggestions to make it more effectual.

What Is Mitakshara Coparcenary?
Coparcenary literally means Joint inheritance or heirship of property. Also called parcenary. Coparcenary is a narrower body of persons within a joint family, and consists of father, son, son's son, son's son's son. The disparity in the property rights on the basis of gender is deep rooted and can be traced back to the ancient times. Traditional Hindu inheritance laws evolved from the ancient texts of Dharmashastras and the various commentaries and legal treatises on them. In particular, the
Mitakshara and the Dayabhaga legal doctrines, dated around the twelfth century AD govern the inheritance practices among the Hindus. In most of northern and parts of western India Mitakshara law is prevalent.Under the Mitakshara law, on birth, the son acquires a right and interest in the family property. According to this school, a son, grandson and a great grandson constitute a class of coparceners, based on birth in the family. No female is a member of the coparcenary in Mitakshara law. Under the Mitakshara system, joint family property devolves by survivorship within the coparcenary. This means that with
every birth or death of a male in the family, the share of every other surviving male either gets diminished or enlarged. If a coparcenary consists of a father and his two sons, each would own one third of the property. If another son is born in the family, automatically the share of each male is reduced to one fourth. The Mitakshara law also recognizes inheritance by succession but only to the property separately owned by an individual male or female. Females are included as heirs to
this kind of property by Mitakshara law.

Position Of Woman (In Regards To Property Rights) Prior To Enactment Of Hindu Succession Act, 1956-
Since time immemorial the framing of all property laws have been exclusively for the benefit of man, and woman has been treated as subservient, and dependent on male support. The right to property is important for the freedom and development of a human being. Prior to the Act of 1956, Shastric and Customary laws, which varied from region to region, governed Hindus and sometimes it varied in the same region on a caste basis. As the country is vast and communications and social interactions in the past were difficult, it led to diversity in the law. Consequently in matters of succession also, there were
different schools, like Dayabhaga in Bengal and the adjoining areas; Mayukha in Bombay, Konkan and Gujarat and Marumakkattayam or Nambudri in Kerala and Mitakshara in other parts of India with slight variations. The multiplicity of succession laws in India, diverse in their nature, owing to their varied origin made the property laws even mere complex.
But, however the social reform movement during the pre-independence period raised the issue of gender discrimination and a number of ameliorative steps were initiated. The principal reform that was called for, and one which became a pressing necessity in view of changed social and economic conditions, was that in succession there should be equitable distribution between male and female heirs and the Hindu women's limited estate should be enlarged into full ownership (however
that actually never happened). The only property over which she had an absolute ownership was the Stridhan meaning women's property.

Prior to Hindu Law of Inheritance Act, 1929-
Prior to this Act, the Mitakshara law also recognizes inheritance by succession but only to the property separately owned by an individual, male or female. Females are included as heirs to this kind of property by Mitakshara law. Before the Hindu Law of Inheritance Act 1929, the Bengal, Benares and Mithila sub schools of Mitakshara recognized only five female relations as being entitled to inherit namely - widow, daughter, mother paternal grandmother, and paternal great-grand mother . The Madras sub-school recognized the heritable capacity of a larger number of female's heirs that is of the son's daughter, daughter's daughter and the sister, as heirs who are expressly named as heirs in Hindu Law of Inheritance Act, 1929.The son's daughter and the daughter's daughter ranked as bandhus in Bombay and Madras. The Bombay school which
is most liberal to women, recognized a number of other female heirs including a half sister, father's sister and women married into the family such as stepmother, son's widow, brother's widow and also many other females classified as bandhus.

Hindu Law of Inheritance Act, 1929-
This was the earliest piece of legislation, bringing woman into the scheme of inheritance. This Act, conferred inheritance rights
on three female heirs i.e. son's daughter, daughter's daughter and sister (thereby creating limited restriction on the rule of
survivorship).

Hindu Women's Right to Property Act (XVIII of), 1937-
This was the landmark legislation conferring ownership rights on women. This Act brought about revolutionary changes in the Hindu Law of all schools, and brought changes not only in the law of coparcenary but also in the law of partition, alienation of property, inheritance and adoption . The Act of 1937 enabled the widow to succeed along with the son and to take a share equal to that of the son. But, the widow did not become a coparcener even though she possessed a right akin to a
coparcenary interest in the property and was a member of the joint family. The widow was entitled only to a limited estate in the property of the deceased with a right to claim partition . A daughter had virtually no inheritance rights.

Despite these enactments having brought important changes in the law of succession by conferring new rights of succession on certain females, these were still found to be incoherent and defective in many respects and gave rise to a number of anomalies and left untouched the basic features of discrimination against women. These enactments now stand repealed.

Constitutional Provisions ensuring Gender Equality-
The framers of the Indian Constitution took note of the adverse condition of women in society and a number of provisions and safeguards were included in the Constitution to ward off gender inequality. In this context, Articles 14 , 15(3) and 16 of the Constitution can be mentioned. These provisions are part of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Part IV containing Directive Principles of State Policy, which are no less fundamental in the governance of the State to ensure equality between man and woman such as equal pay for equal work. The Directive Principles further endorses the principle of gender equality, which the State has to follow in matters of governance. Similarly, Part IVA of the Constitution enshrining the Fundamental Duties states that:

# It shall be the duty of every citizen of India -
(e) ... to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women...

Despite these provisions for ensuring equal status, unfortunately a woman is still not only neglected in her own natal family but also the family she marries into because of certain laws and attitudes.

Position Of Woman After Enactment Of Hindu Succession Act, 1956-
After the advent of the Constitution, the first law made at the central level pertaining to property and inheritance concerning Hindus was the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (hereinafter called the HSA). This Act dealing with intestate succession among Hindus came into force on 17th June 1956. It brought about changes in the law of succession and gave rights, which were hitherto unknown, in relation to a woman's property. The section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 follows as:

Devolution of interest in coparcenary property. - When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with this Act:
Provided that, if the deceased had left him surviving a female relative specified in class I of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that class who claims through such female relative, the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be and not by survivorship.

Explanation 1. For the purpose of this section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.

Explanation 2. Nothing contained in the proviso to this section shall be construed as enabling a person who has separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or any of his heirs to claim on intestacy a share in the interest referred to therein.

Section 6 deals with the devolution of the interest of a male Hindu in coparcenary property it says that if a male Hindu dies leaving behind his share in Mithakshara Co-parcenary property , such property will pass on to his sons, son's son's, son's son's son by survivorship, on surviving members. In case there are female relatives like daughter, widow, mother, daughter of predeceased son, daughter of predeceased daughter, widow of predeceased son, widow of predeceased son of a
predeceased son, then the interest of the deceased co-parcenary will pass on to his heirs by succession and not by survivorship . And while recognizing the rule of devolution by survivorship among the members of the coparcenary, makes an exception to the rule in the proviso. According to the proviso, if the deceased has left him surviving a female relative specified in Class I of Schedule I, or a male relative specified in that Class who claims through such female relative, the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession under this Act and not by survivorship. The rule of survivorship comes into operation only: -

Where the deceased does not leave him surviving a female relative specified in Class I, or a male relative specified in that Class who claims through such female relative; and When the deceased has not made a testamentary disposition of his
undivided share in the coparcenary property.

As pointed out above that the main provision of this section deals with the devolution of the interest of a coparcener dying intestate by the rule of survivorship and the proviso speaks of the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara Coparcenary Property. Now, in order to ascertain what is the interest of the deceased coparcener, one necessarily needs to keep in mind the two Explanations under the proviso. These two Explanations give the necessary assistance for ascertaining the interest of the deceased coparcener in the Mitakshara Coparcenary Property. Explanation I provides for ascertaining the interest on the basis of a notional partition by applying a fiction as if the partition had taken place immediately before the death of the deceased coparcener. Explanation II lays down that a person who has separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or any of the heirs of such divided coparcener is not entitled to claim on intestacy a share in the interest referred to in the section.

Under the proviso if a female relative in class I of the schedule or a male relative in that class claiming through such female relative survives the deceased, then only would the question of claiming his interest by succession arise. The Supreme Court in 1978 Gurupad v. Heerabai and reiterated later in 1994 in Shyama Devi v. Manju Shukla wherein it has been held that the proviso to section 6 gives the formula for fixing the share of the claimant and the share is to be determined in accordance with Explanation I by deeming that a partition had taken place a little before his death which gives the clue for arriving at the
share of the deceased.Section 6 can further be understood by the following-Example: If ?C? dies leaving behind his two sons only, and no female heirs of class I then property of ?C? passes to his sons by survivorship since there are no female relatives like daughter or any other member specified in the class I of first schedule. In case ?C? dies leaving behind two sons and three daughters, then property of ?C? will pass on to his sons and daughters by succession in the following manner.

Firstly property of "C" is divided between "C" and his two sons. The shares of "C" and his two sons are, C gets one-third and each son one-third.

The sons are entitled to the equal share of the property along with the father. But the daughters are entitled to the share in the share of the deceased ?C? along with other sons. So the sons will get one-third of the property and a share, which is one-fifth in the share of deceased ?C?. Hence the daughter does not take equal share with the son.

However, section 6 did not interfere with the special rights of those who are members of a Mitakshara coparcenary except to provide rules for devolution of the interest of a deceased in certain cases. The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and applies, interalia, to persons governed by Mitakshara and Dayabhaga Schools as also to those in certain parts of southern India who were previously governed by the Murumakkattayam, Aliyasantana and Nambudri Systems. The Act applies to any person who is a Hindu as defined in section 2 of HSA . But now the question the question is whether, the Hindu Succession Act actually gave women an equal right to property or did it only profess to do so. Significantly, the provisions regarding succession in the Hindu Code Bill, as originally framed by the B.N.Rau Committee and piloted by Dr.Ambedkar, was for abolishing Mitakshara coparcenary with its concept of survivorship and the son's right by
birth in a joint family property and substituting it with the principle of inheritance by succession. These proposals met with a storm of conservative opposition. The extent of opposition within the Congress or the then government itself can be gauged from the fact that the then Law Minister Mr.Biswas, on the floor of the house, expressed himself against daughters inheriting property from their natal families.

The retention of the Mitakshara coparcenary without including females in it meant that females couldn't inherit ancestral property as males do. If a joint family gets divided, each male coparcener takes his share and females get nothing. Only when one of the coparceners dies, a female gets a share of his share as an heir to the deceased. Thus the law by excluding the daughters from participating in coparcenary ownership (merely by reason of their sex) not only contributed to an inequity
against females but has led to oppression and negation of their right to equality and appears to be a mockery of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Hence this very fact necessitated a further change in regards to the property rights of women, and which was done by the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2004.

The State Amendments
The idea of making a woman a coparcener was suggested as early as 1945 in written statements submitted to the Hindu Law Committee by a number of individuals and groups; and again in 1956, when the Hindu Succession Bill was being finally debated prior to its enactment an amendment was moved to make a daughter and her children members of the Hindu
coparcenary in the same way as a son or his children. But this progressive idea was finally rejected and the Mitakshara Joint family was retained.

The concept of the Mitakshara coparcenary property retained under section 6 of the HSA has not been amended ever since its enactment. Though, it is a matter of some satisfaction that five states in India namely, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have taken cognizance of the fact that a woman needs to be treated equally both in the economic and the social spheres. As per the law of four of these states, (Kerala excluded), in a joint Hindu family governed by Mitakshara law, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth become a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son. Kerala, however, has gone one step further and abolished the right to claim any interest in any property of an ancestor during his or her lifetime founded on the mere fact that he or she was born in the family. In fact, it has abolished the Joint Hindu family system altogether including the Mitakshara, Marumakkattayam, Aliyasantana and Nambudri systems. Thus enacting that joint tenants be replaced by tenants in common.A list of the legislation passed by the five states is set out below and
the legislation is annexed as Annexed "1"

The Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975, Kerala.
The Hindu Succession (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1986.
The Hindu Succession (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1989.
The Hindu Succession (Karnataka Amendment) Act, 1994.
The Hindu Succession (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 1994.

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005
The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 was seeks to make two major amendments in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. First, it is proposed to remove the gender discrimination in section 6 of the original Act. Second, it proposes to omit section 23 of the original Act, which disentitles a female heir to ask for partition in respect of a dwelling house, wholly occupied by a joint family, until the male heirs choose to divide their respective shares therein. However in the instant project
we have focused specifically on the changes brought in Section 6 in regards to the position of woman and has made a clause-by-clause consideration of the section thus amended.

Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 has been restated for convenience-
Devolution of interest in coparcenary property. - When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with this Act: Provided that, if the deceased had left him surviving a female relative specified in class I of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that class who claims
through such female relative, the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be and not by survivorship.

Explanation 1. For the purpose of this section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.

Explanation 2. Nothing contained in the proviso to this section shall be construed as enabling a person who has separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or any of his heirs to claim on intestacy a share in the interest referred to therein.

The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005-
6 (l). Devolution of interest in coparcenary property.

(1) On and from the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, in a Joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law, the daughter of a coparcener shall,--
(a) by birth become a coparcener in her own right the same manner as the son ;
(b) have the same rights in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son;
(c) be subject to the same liabilities in respect of the said coparcenary property as that of a son, and any reference to a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to include a reference to a daughter of a coparcener: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall affect or invalidate any disposition or alienation including any partition or testamentary disposition of property which had taken place before the 20th day of December, 2004.

(2) Any property to which a female Hindu becomes entitled by virtue of subsection (1) shall be held by her with the incidents of coparcenary ownership and shall be regarded, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force in, as property capable of being disposed of by her by testamentary disposition.

(3) Where a Hindu dies after the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, his interest in the property of a Joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law, shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not by survivorship, and the coparcenary property shall be deemed to have been divided as if a partition had taken place and,-
(a) the daughter is allotted the same share as is allotted to a son;
(b) the share of the pre-deceased son or a pre-deceased daughter, as they would have got had they been alive at the time of partition, shall be allotted to the surviving child of such pre-deceased son or of such pre-deceased daughter; and
(c) the share of the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son or of a predeceased daughter, as such child would have got had he or she been alive at the time of the partition, shall be allotted to the child of such pre-deceased child of the pre-deceased so or a pre-deceased daughter, as the case may be.

Explanation.-- For the purposes of this sub-section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.

(4) After the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, no court shall recognize any right to proceed against a son, grandson or great-grandson for the recovery of any debt due from his father, grandfather or great-grandfather solely on the ground of the pious obligation under the Hindu law, of such son, grandson or great-grandson to discharge any such debt: Provided that in the case of any debt contracted before the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, nothing contained in this sub-section shall affect--

(a) the right of any creditor to proceed against the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the case may be; or
(b) any alienation made in respect of or in satisfaction of, any such debt, and any such right or alienation shall be enforceable under the rule of pious obligation in the same manner and to the same extent as it would have been enforceable as if the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 had not been enacted.

Explanation.--For the purposes of clause (a), the expression "son", "grandson" or "great-grandson" shall be deemed to refer to the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the case may be, who was born or adopted prior to the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.

(5) Nothing contained in this section shall apply to a partition, which has been effected before the 20th day of December 2004.
Explanation- For the purposes of this section "partition" means any partition made by execution of a deed of partition duly registered under the Registration Act, 1908 or partition affected by a decree of a court.

Section 6 seeks to make the daughter a coparcener by birth in a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law, subject to the same liabilities in respect of the said coparcenary property as that of a son.

Laws reflect the face of society and its evolution over the time. To respond to the needs of a dynamic social system, laws have to be changed and amended, at regular intervals. As far as the basic objective of the Act is to remove gender discriminatory practices in the property laws of the Hindus, whereby daughters have been given the status of coparceners
in the Mitakshara joint family system. However, the position of other Class I female heirs should not suffer as a result of this move.

However, it does not interfere with the special rights of those who are members of Hindu Mitakshara coparcenary except to provide rules for devolution of the interest of a deceased male in certain cases. The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and applies, inter alia, to persons governed by the Mitakshara and Dayabhaga
schools and also to those governed previously by the Murumakkattayam, Aliyasantana and Nambudri laws. It is proposed to remove the discrimination as contained in section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 by giving equal rights to daughters in
the Hindu Mitakshara coparcenary property as the sons have.

Changes Brought In The Position Of The Women (Specifically Focusing On Section 6)
Out of many significant benefits brought in for women, one of the significant benefit has been to make women coparcenary (right by birth) in Mitakshara joint family property. Earlier the female heir only had a deceased man's notional portion. With this amendment, both male and female will get equal rights.

In a major blow to patriarchy, centuries-old customary Hindu law in the shape of the exclusive male mitakshara coparcenary has been breached throughout the country.

The preferential right by birth of sons in joint family property, with the offering of "shradha" for the spiritual benefit and solace of ancestors, has for centuries been considered sacred and inviolate. It has also played a major role in the blatant preference for sons in Indian society. This amendment, in one fell swoop, has made the daughter a member of the coparcenary and is a significant advancement towards gender equality.

The significant change of making all daughters (including married ones) coparceners in joint family property - has been of a of great importance for women, both economically and symbolically. Economically, it can enhance women's security, by giving them birthrights in property that cannot be willed away by men. In a male-biased society where wills often disinherit women, this is a substantial gain. Also, as noted, women can become kartas of the property. Symbolically, all this signals that
daughters and sons are equally important members of the parental family. It undermines the notion that after marriage the daughter belongs only to her husband's family. If her marriage breaks down, she can now return to her birth home by right, and not on the sufferance of relatives. This will enhance her self-confidence and social worth and give her greater bargaining power for herself and her children, in both parental and marital families.

Now under the amendment, daughters will now get a share equal to that of sons at the time of the notional partition, just before the death of the father, and an equal share of the father's separate share. Equal distribution of undivided interests in co-parcenery property. However, the position of the mother vis--vis the coparcenary stays the same. She, not being a member of the coparcenary, will not get a share at the time of the notional partition. The mother will be entitled to an equal share with other Class I heirs only from the separate share of the father computed at the time of the notional partition. In effect, the
actual share of the mother will go down, as the separate share of the father will be less as the property will now be equally divided between father, sons and daughters in the notional partition.

Some Anomalies Still Persist
Some other anomalies also persist-
1. One stems from retaining the Mitaksara joint property system. Making daughters coparceners will decrease the shares of other Class I female heirs, such as the deceased's widow and mother, since the coparcenary share of the deceased male from whom they inherit will decline. In States where the wife takes a share on partition, as in Maharashtra, the widow's potential share will now equal the son's and daughter's. But where the wife takes no share on partition, as in Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh, the widow's potential share will fall below the daughter's.

2. Co-parcenary remains a primary entitlement of males; the law, no doubt provides for equal division of the male co-parcener's share on his death between all heirs, male and female; still, the law puts the male heirs on a higher footing by providing that they shall inherit an additional independent share in co-parcenary property over and above what they inherit equally with female heirs; the very concept of co-parcenary is that of an exclusive male membership club and therefore should be abolished.

But such abolition needed to be dovetailed with partially restricting the right to will (say to 1/3 of the property). Such restrictions are common in several European countries. Otherwise women may inherit little, as wills often disinherit them. However, since the 2005 Act does not touch testamentary freedom, retaining the Mitaksara system and making daughters coparceners, while not the ideal solution, at least provides women assured shares in joint family property (if we include landholdings, the numbers benefiting could be large). 3. If a Hindu female dies intestate, her property devolves first to husband's heirs, then to husband's father's heirs and finally only to mother's heirs; thus the intestate Hindu female property is kept within the husband's lien.

Another reason for having an all India legislation is that if the Joint Family has properties in two states, one which is governed by the Amending Act and the other not so governed, it may result in two Kartas, one a daughter and the other a son. Difficulties pertaining to territorial application of Amending Act will also arise. Thus is the need for an all India Act or Uniform Civil Code more immediate.

Conclusion
The Preamble to the Amending Acts indicates the objective as the removal of discrimination against daughters inherent in the mitakshara coparcenary and thereby eradication of the baneful system of dowry by positive measures thus ameliorating the condition of women in the human society.

It is necessary to understand that if equality exists only as a phenomenon outside the awareness and approval of the majority of the people, it cannot be realized by a section of women socialized in traditions of inequality. Thus there is need to social awareness and to educate people to change their attitude towards the concept of gender equality. The need of the hour is also to focus attention on changing the social attitudes in favour of equality for all by enacting a uniform law.

The difficult question of implementing the 2005 Act remains. Campaigns for legal literacy; efforts to enhance social awareness of the advantages to the whole family if women own property; and legal and social aid for women seeking to assert their rights, are only a few of the many steps needed to fulfill the change incorporated in the Act.

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ISBN No: 978-93-82417-01-9