Ahead of the budget session of the assembly, Uttarakhand government has passed an ordinance to give land ownership rights to daughters and wives of male landowners by amending the Uttarakhand Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act.
According to an official privy to the matter told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that the ordinance was passed by the government at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Wednesday evening. The official said,
Under the ordinance, the daughters will have ownership rights on the land owned by her father. Similarly, a wife will also be the joint owner of the land of her husband.
Adding further the official also said,
The move is aimed to facilitate the women who are working in fields owned by their husbands or fathers especially in the hilly areas of the state. So far in Uttarakhand, the land ownership rights are transferred to men in the family which are then passed on to their sons.
Co-ownership Rights To Wives In Husband’s Ancestral Property
The Uttarakhand government has also set a precedent by passing an ordinance that gives co-ownership rights to women in their husband’s ancestral property. CM Rawat said,
This is the biggest reform of our government. I am confident that this reform will not be limited to Uttarakhand and other states will also follow it. We talk of equal partnership and this ordinance provides equal partnership to women. This will have a major impact and will go a long way in overall development of the state.
Consequences On Divorce
In case a woman is divorced, she won’t be the co-owner of the land that is in her first husband’s name. However, there is an exception to this rule. If the woman’s second husband is unable to provide for her financially, she would be allowed to be the co-owner. Also, if a divorced woman does not have a child or her husband has been missing for seven years, she can be the co-owner of the land owned by her father.
- Giving equal rights to daughters and wives is always a welcome and progressive step
- However, similar rights should not be denied to Men/Husbands who must also inherit equal share in the ancestral property of wives that they would get from their fathers (before and after marriage)
- Conditional consequences on divorce leaves a grey area, as most women who re-marry may prove that the second husbands are unable to provide for them, and thus retain their share in the first husband’s ancestral property
- This in our opinion is highly unjust to the first husband, his family and also his second wife and children from her, if he remarries
Anil Kumar, President – Save Indian Family Foundation says,
Property ownership should never be given, if the duration of marriage is very short. What is the guarantee that woman will perform her duties towards her old in-laws after being a co-owner?
If a woman needs to be empowered to manage or take loan for such ancestral agricultural property, then husband can decide, if he wants to make her a co-owner. What if a woman takes huge loan on this ancestral property of her husband and misuses the money?
No law should have an exception built on it, because later on it conflicts with other laws. This exception here is, woman will lose ownership if she applies for divorce. Such exception can not be sustained. So, eventually husbands and their parents will lose their ancestral property.
Ritwik Bisaria, Vice President, Men Welfare Trust, shares his views on this matter. He quotes,
This ordinance gives the rights of property to woman, both from her ancestors and now her Husband’s Ancestors too. In the world of Digital Economy, the Uttarakhand Govt has actually penalised men of their state for a problem as small as not being able to send papers to sign for bank loans to Husband’s working outside the state.
This ordinance assumes that women are not able to send papers to husbands (assuming owners) to sign for bank loans, women can not send camera photo of the form for the husband to sign (though same women can operate Facebook, Instagram etc).
This ordinance also assumes that 100% of the Husbands are working out of the State and that they never show up back in state to sign bank forms for loan, if needed. This Ordinance also assumes that Banks only want the owner to show up physically now a days to sign for collaterals for loan (Banking system looks at the asset more categorically).
So this Ordinance is a big slap on the face of Uttarakhand Men and absolutely unconstitutional ab-initio. Further clauses don’t even warrant a response (what happens post divorce etc is all not to be debated as the Ordinance is pathetic at very root). It will have only following repercussions:
1. Uttarakhand Families having sons, will stop investing into real estate in the state [to avoid future handover to this #LegaExtortion]
2. Cases of family suicides will increase in the state, as Laws like 498A etc were giving #LegalTerrorism and this Ordinance, brings in #LegalExtortion as well.
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