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RIGHTS OF HINDU WOMEN

UNDER PERSONAL LAW :


SAGA OF DISCRIMINATION

Priyanka Bose Kanta

Introduction

The Hindus constitute the largest minority group


in Bangladesh.

Given the fact that the Buddhist community also


follows the Hindu personal family laws, Hindu laws
have a major impact on the lives of a substantial
portion of the population of Bangladesh.

The Shastric Hindu Laws as applies in our country


is discriminatory towards women and no major
step has been taken to reform these laws.

Summary of the
Presentation

Womens Right to property


Womens right in marriage
Womens right to adoption

Right to property

Hindu law as applies in Bangladesh excludes a large number


of women from inheritance.

Hinduism makes this in the interest of joint Hindu family


system or in order to prevent the breakdown of the joint
Hindu family system.

According to Hindu law as followed in Bangladesh daughters


are completely excluded from inheritance in presence of
sons

Additionally traditional Hindu


ownership of female heirs.

law

refuses

absolute

Inheritance contd.

In Bangladesh Dayabhaga school of Hindu law


prevails in which rules of inheritance are guided
by the doctrine of spiritual benefit.

The doctrine implies the right of male heirs to


offer oblations to purify for conferring spiritual
benefit to his father and ancestors.

On the basis of this guiding principle there exists


a chronological list of heirs which also shows their
(heirs) priority in terms of succeeding an estate.

Inheritance contd.

Females succeeding as heirs whether to a


male or a female takes a limited estate
inherited by them.

They can only use and enjoy the income of


the property, but cant alienate such
property generally.

Male succeeding as heirs whether to a male


or female takes absolutely.

Inheritance contd.

Moreover, The female can neither be a full


owner nor can she be a fresh stock of
descent.

That means after the death of the female


heir, the property goes back to the original
owner from whom she inherited.

The succession then will take place among


the next kin of the original last full owner.

Inheritance contd.

In default of widow, daughter succeeds as an heir.


Daughter cant succeed unless all widows are dead.

The daughters right is based on the fact that


although she cannot offer oblation, her son can do.

So a daughter who has no son or likely to have no


son, she is excluded.

Under the Dayabhaga School, the


daughter is first entitled to succeed.

unmarried

Inheritance contd.

If there are no maiden daughter, then the daughter


who has and the daughter who likely to have son
succeed together.

In no circumstances, can the daughters who are


either barren or widow without male issue, or mother
of a daughter can inherit property.

However a barren married daughter can stop


inheritance of his fathers property to reversionary by
creating son by adoption with the consent of her
husband.

Womens right in marriage

Hindu marriage is perceived to be everlasting,


continuing even after the death of the parties

The primary and sacramental object of it is to give


birth to a male issue, thus leading to discrimination
from the very beginning against the girl child.

A son is necessary to continue the family lineage


and participate in the Shraddha or funeral
ceremony in order to confer spiritual benefit on the
father and other ancestors.

right in marriage (contd.)

As Hindu marriage is considered an eternal, unbreakable


and indissoluble union, dissolution of marriage is not legally
permissible in Bangladesh whatever may be the cause.

Even though unlimited polygamy is allowed polyandry is


prohibited under Hindu law.

A Hindu woman, as a mother, is also discriminated during


her daughters marriage since mother is very low on the list
of approved guardians for marriage

and for a valid marriage a proper guardian must give in


marriage

right in marriage (contd.)

Enactment of laws to protect Hindu womens rights in Bangladesh is


being thwarted by conservatives.

Although Articles 19(1) and 19(2) and 28 of the Constitution provide


clear provisions that the state will ensure equal rights to all citizens
and remove social and economic disparities

no government came up with steps to reform Hindu laws for


protecting Hindu women's rights.

There was no provision for marriage registration in traditional Hindu


law but recently a new law titled the Hindu Marriage Registration
Act, 2012 has been enacted.
However
the Act has been passed keeping the provision of
registration optional.

Womens right to adoption

The aim of adoption under the Shastric Hindu law


that applies in Bangladesh is two-fold.

The first is religious, that is, to obtain a son able to take


part in the funeral ceremonies of the father
the second is secular, that is, to carry on the family name.

Under the Shastric Hindu law as applied in


Bangladesh, only a male can be adopted.

A Hindu male, single or married, enjoys


unrestricted rights in case of adoption,.

Adoption contd.

On the other hand, a Hindu woman can't adopt by


herself but only with the consent of her husband.
A wife cant adopt without the consent of her
husband if he is alive and able to give such consent.
A widow under the Dayabagha School may adopt if
her husband gives implied or express consent before
his death.
She has no right herself, she is deemed to act
merely as an agent, or representative of her
husband.
A wife can but no other female can adopt.