The changes brought about by the Hindu Woman’s Right to property Act, 1937 as amended by the Act of 1938 and 1940

Its main provisions are as follows:-

(1) In the case of the separate and self-acquired property:

(i) The widow succeeds along with the sons to the same share as son;

(ii) The widow of a predeceased son inherits like the son if there is no son to the predeceased son and along with the son’s son in any surviving son to the prede­ceased son;

(iii) The widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son inherits like a grandson if there is no surviving son to the predeceased son of the predeceased son and along with such surviving son of the predeceased son of a predeceased son.

(2) In the case of a joint family the widow takes the place of her husband in Mitakshara School.

The general effect of the Act is to put the three female heirs- widow, son’s widow and son’s widow on the same level as the male issue of the last owner.

The Act has put the widow in the place of the husband in the case of the joint family property. Husband’s interest will pass to the widow by succession and not by survivorship of which she can claim partition in her own right. The rule that the widow succeeds to the property in default of the son, grandson and great grandson is no longer the law. It has been abrogated and now she inherits along with the son or in default of a son.

The position of the widow of a deceased person under the Mitakshara School is not that of a coparcener but that of a mem­ber of a joint family with certain rights which have been created by statutory law. The joint family still continues, and the Karta of the joint family still has the right to represent the family.

The interest created by this Act is only a limited interest known as a Hindu woman’s estate. The object of the Act was to enlarge the rights of the Hindu women and so give them better rights. Except this the Act has not changed the established law of inheritance.

Since the widow takes limited estate in the property inherited by her she cannot become a fresh stock of descent. After her death the property again reverts back to the nearest descendants of the last full owner.

The interest of the husband devolves on the widow with all the obligations and liabilities under which the husband’s property was.

The Hindu Woman’s Right to Property Act does not apply to agricultural land in the Governor’s State or to mortgagee’s inter­est or to a lessee’s interest.

The Hindu Women’s Right to property Act, 1937 has now been repealed by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

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