Succession Act 'unfair' to Christian women, amend it: Law Comm

Succession Act 'unfair' to Christian women, amend it: Law Comm

The Law Commission has recommended a series of amendments to the Indian Succession Act to allow Christian women to get equal rights in the property of their deceased children.

In its report 'Sections 41 to 48 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 – Proposed Reforms' tabled in Parliament today, the Commission said it considered the present provisions "unfair" towards Christian women and termed them prejudicial and unfair to status of women.

The recommendations come against the backdrop of a number of representations from various Christian organisations inviting attention of the government on the issue.

"A plain reading of the provisions built in Sections 42 to 46 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 reveal how the scheme envisioned therein incorporates a preferential approach towards men and is unfair and unjust towards Christian women," Law Commission chairman Justice A P Shah (Retd) wrote.

Referring to rules in the Act regarding distribution where there are no lineal descendants of the person who dies without making a valid will (intestate), the report said, "These provisions are unfair towards Christian women."

It said according to Section 42, where deceased intestate father is living and there are no lineal descendants, father succeeds to property and mother gets no share. "Preferential approach is writ large."

It said unfairness runs through provisions of Sections 44 and 45 as well, and it is only when neither father, brother, sister or their children of the deceased intestate are living that the property goes to the mother under Section 46.

The report recommended that provisions of Section 42 which "weaves an archaic principle" of giving superior status to man in access and owning property needs to be revised.

The panel has strongly recommended repeal of all such provisions and giving mother first and equal rights as father.
The report was submitted to the Law Ministry in September and was tabled in Parliament as per laid down procedure.

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