Set-aside-ing customary and Patriarchal law bar inheritance to tribal woman in family properties, in a landmark verdict passed by Himahcal Pradesh High Court recently has upheld such rights given to men.
Deciding a pending twelve years old family land dispute that pertains to Chamba district, single judge bench of Himahal Pradesh comprising of Mr. Justice Rajiv Sharma on 23rd June, 2015 upheld the district courts judgment that right of inheritance could not be denied to women in the tribal areas owing prevalent customary law.
The court verdict said that Hindu Succession Act of 1956, which grants equal rights to men and women, should also be applicable for tribal daughter nullifying century-old patriarchal law.
“Making observations in this case the court pointed out that it would prevent women’s social injustice and prevention of all forms of exploitation. The laws must evolve with the time if societies are to progress” Justice Rajiv Sharma added.
“It is made clear by way of abandoned precaution that the observations made here in above only pertain to right to inherit the property by the daughters under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and not any other privileges enjoined by the tribal” the decisions averred.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the coustmary law “Wajib Ul Urj,” came into existence only in the state’s tribal district of Kinnaur in 1926, permits only men to inherit ancestral property, if it is not bequeathed. The patriarchal law bars even widows from inheriting their husband’s property, which is transferred to the sons.
The administration so far is following above laws in the District Kinnuar and is likely to learn some lesson after passing of this judgment and ending century old discrimination with the woman.
According to Census 2011 figures, the sex ratio in Kinnaur has gone down from 857 in 2001 to 818 in 2011. It’s ranked the lowest in the state, while in 2001 its rank was 10th.