Topic: The Married Women’s Property Act, 1874

1. Short title.-This Act may be called the Married Women'sProperty Act, 1874.

Section 2. Extent and application
2*[It extends to the whole of Indiaexcept the State of Jammu and Kashmir.] But nothing herein contained applies to any married woman who atthe time of her marriage professed the Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist,Sikh or Jaina religion, or whose husband, at the time of suchmarriage, professed any of those religions.

1. The relevant provision of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (39 of1925) may now be referred to.2 Subs. by Act 61 of 1959, s. 2, for the former para. (w.e.f. 1-3-1960).Extended to and brought into force in Dadra and Nagar Heveli (w.e.f.1-7-65) by Reg. 6 of 1963, s.2 and Sch.I(with modification).----------------------------

2. And the 1*[State Government] may from time to time, by order, eitherretrospectively from the passing of this Act or prospectively, exemptfrom the operation of all or any of the provisions of this Act themembers of any race, sect or tribe, or part of a race, sect or tribe,to whom it may consider it impossible or inexpedient to apply suchprovisions.The 1[State Government] may also revoke any such order, but not sothat the revocation shall have any retrospective effect.All orders and revocations under this section shall be published inthe Official Gazette.2* * * * *

Section 3. [Commencement.] Rep. by the Repealing Act, 1876 (12 of 1876), s.1and Sch. II.-MARRIED WOMEN'S WAGES AND EARNINGS

Section 4. Married women's earnings to be their separate property.
arried women's earnings to be their separate property.-Thewages and earnings of any married woman acquired or gained by herafter the passing of this Act, in any employment, occupation or tradecarried on by her and not by her husband,and also any money or other property so acquired by her through theexercise of any literary, artistic or scientific skill,and all savings from and investments of such wages, earnings andproperty,shall be deemed to be her separate property, and her receipts aloneshall be good discharges for such wages, earnings and property. III.-INSURANCES BY WIVES AND HUSBANDS

Section 5. Married woman may effect policy of insurance.
Married woman may effect policy of insurance.-Any married womanmay effect a policy of insurance on her own behalf and independentlyof her husband; and the same and

1 The original words " G. G. in C." have successively been amended byAct 38 of 1920, the A. O. 1937 and the A. O. 1950 to read as above.2 The last paragraph rep. by Act 39 of 1925, s. 392 and Sch. IX.3 Cf. the Married Women's Property Act, 1870 (33 and 34 Vict., c. 93),s. 1, now rep. by the Married Women's Property Act, 1882 (45 and 46Vict.,c. 75).4 Cf. the Married Women's Property Act, 1870 (33 and 34 Vict., c. 93),s. 10, para.

1.3all benefit thereof, if expressed on the face of it to be so effected,shall enure as her separate property, and the contract evidenced bysuch policy shall be as valid as if made with an unmarried woman.

Section 6. Insurance by husband for benefit of wife.
1* 6. 2* [(1)] Insurance by husband for benefit of wife.-A policy ofinsurance effected by any married man on his own life, and expressedon the face of it to be for the benefit of his wife, or of his wifeand children, or any of them, shall enure and be deemed to be a trustfor the benefit of his wife, or of his wife and children, or any ofthem, according to the interest so expressed, and shall not, so longas any object of the trust remains, be subject to the control of thehusband, or to his creditors, or form part of his estate.When the sum secured by the policy becomes payable, it shall, unlessspecial trustees are duly appointed to receive and hold the same, bepaid to the Official Trustee of the 3*[State] in which the office atwhich the insurance was effected is situate, and shall be received andheld by him upon the trusts expressed in the policy, or such of themas are then existing.And in reference to such sum he shall stand in the same position inall respects as if he had been duly appointed trustee thereof by aHigh Court, under Act No. XVII of 1864 4*[to constitute an Office ofOfficial Trustee], section 10.Nothing herein contained shall operate to destroy or impede the rightof any creditor to be paid out of the proceeds of any policy ofassurance which may have been effected with intent to defraudcreditors.5*[(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 2, the provisionsof sub-section (1) shall apply in the case of any policy of insurancesuch as is referred to therein which is effected- (a) by any Hindu, Muhammadan,Sikh or Jain- (i) in Madras, after the thirty-first day of December, 1913, or 1 Cf. the Married Women's Property Act, 1870 (33 and 34 Vict., c. 93),s. 10, para. 2.2 S. 6 renumbered as sub-section (1) of that section by Act 13 of1923, s. 2.3 The word "Presidency" has been successively amended by the A. O.1937, the A. O. 1950 and the Adaptation of Laws (No. 2) Order, 1956,to read as above.4 The relevant provisions of the Official Trustees Act, 1913 (2 of1913) may be referred to.5 Subs. by Act 61 of 1959, s. 3 (w.e.f 1-3-1960), for sub-section (2),ins. by Act 13 of 1923, s. 2.

4 (ii) in any other territory to which this Act extended immediately before the commencement of the Married Women's Property (Extension) Act, 1959 (61 of 1959) after the first day of April, 1923, or (iii) in any territory to which this Act extends on and from the commencement of the Married Women's Property (Extension) Act, 1959 (61 of 1959) on or after such commencement; (b) by a Buddhist in any territory to which this Act extends, on or after the commencement of the Married Women's Property (Extension) Act, 1959: Provided that nothing herein contained shall affect any right or liability which has accrued or been incurred under any decree of a competent court passed- (i) before the first day of April, 1923, in any case to which sub-clause (i) or sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) applies ; or (ii) before the commencement of the Married Women's Property (Extension) Act, 1959 (61 of 1959), in any case to which sub-clause (iii) of clause (a) or clause (b) applies.] IV.-LEGAL PROCEEDINGS BY AND AGAINST MARRIED WOMEN

Section 7. Married women may take legal proceedings.
1*17.Married women may take legal proceedings.-A married woman maymaintain a suit in her own name for the recovery of property of anydescription which, by force of the said Indian Succession Act, 1865(10 of 1865),*2 or of this Act, is her separate property; and sheshall have, in her own name, the same remedies, both civil andcriminal, against all persons, for the protection and security of suchproperty, as if she were unmarried, and she shall be liable to suchsuits, pro- cesses and orders in respect of such property as she wouldbe liable to if she were unmarried.

Section 8. Wife's liability for postnuptial debts.
Wife's liability for postnuptial debts.-If a married woman(whether married before or after the first day of January, 1866)possesses separate property, and if any person enters into a contractwith her with reference to such property, or on the faith that herobligation arising out of such contract---------------------------------------------------------------------

1 Cf. the Married Women's Property Act, 1870 (33 and 34 Vict., c.93), s. 11, rep. by the Married Women's Property Act, 1882 (45 and 46Vict., c. 75).

2 See now the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (39 of 1925).--------------------------------------------------------------------- 5

will be satisfied out of her separate property, such person shall beentitled to sue her, and, to the extent of her separate property, torecover against her whatever he might have recovered in such suit hadshe been unmarried at the date of the contract and continued unmarriedat the execution of the decree: 1[Provided that nothing herein contained shall- (a) entitle such person to recover anything by attachment and sale or otherwise out of any property which has been transferred to a woman or for her benefit on condition that she shall have no power during her marriage to transfer or charge the same or her beneficial interest therein, or (b) affect the liability of a husband for debts contracted by his wife's agency expressed or implied.] V.-HUSBAND's LIABILITY FOR WIFE'S DEBTS

Section 9. Husband not liable for wife's antenuptial debts.
2*29. Husband not liable for wife's antenuptial debts.-A husbandmarried after the thirty-first day of December, 1865 shall not byreason only of such marriage be liable to the debts of his wifecontracted before marriage, but the wife shall be liable to be suedfor, and shall, to the extent of her separate property, be liable tosatisfy such debts as if she had continued unmarried:Proviso.-Provided that nothing contained in this section shall 3***invalidate any contract into which a husband may, before the passingof this Act, have entered in consideration of his wife's antenuptialdebts.4[VI.-HUSBAND'S LIABILITY FOR WIFE's BREACH OF TRUST OR DEVASTATION

Section 10. Extent of husband's liability for wife's breach of trust or devastation.
10.Extent of husband's liability for wife's breach of trust ordevastation.-Where a woman is a trustee, executrix or administratrix,either before or after marriage, her husband shall not, unless he actsor intermeddles in the trust or administration, be liable for anybreach of trust committed by her, or for any misapplication, loss ordamage to the estate of the deceased caused or made by her, or for anyloss to such estate arising from her neglect to get in any part of theproperty of the deceased.]


1 Subs. by Act 21 of 1929, s. 2, for the original proviso.2 Cf. the Married Women's Property Act, 1870 (33 and 34 Vict., c. 93), s. 12.3 The words "affect any suit instituted before the passing of this Act, nor" rep. by Act 12 of 1891, s. 2 and Sch. I.4 Ins. by Act 18 of 1927, s. 3.

7-8THE INDIAN FOREIGN MARRIAGE ACT, 1903ACT No. 14 OF 1903This Act has been repealed by the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 (33 of1969), s. 30.