According to the amendments made in 2005 to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, now a daughter of a Joint Hindu Family governed by Mitakshara Law has a right by birth to become a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as a son. This would give a daughter and a son same rights to inherit the Joint Property.
The amendments also deleted a section, which earlier denied a daughter the right of residence in the parental home unless she had been widowed, deserted or separated from her husband.
A Hindu woman also has full right in case of intestate succession from her father or husband. It is provided that in case of death of a male dying without leaving a will, his property is divided amongst his widow, sons, daughters including the children of any predeceased son or daughter, and his mother.
In case of a Hindu female dying intestate, i. e. without leaving a will, the laws of succession are different. In case where the property is inherited by a female from her father or mother, then in the event if she does not have any son or daughter or children of pre-deceased son or daughter, such property would devolve upon her death to the heirs of her father.
If the property is inherited by a female from her husband or her father-in-law, then the property shall devolve in the absence of any son or daughter including the children of pre-deceased son or daughter upon the heirs of her husband.
In case of self-acquired property of a Hindu female dying intestate, the same would devolve firstly upon her sons and daughters including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter, and her husband, and in absence of them upon the heirs of the husband and in absence of her husband’s heirs, upon her mother and father and so on.
A Hindu wife has a right of residence in her matrimonial home even if she does not own it. Under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, a wife is entitled to be maintained by her husband during her lifetime.
Further, a wife is also entitled to live separately from her husband without forfeiting her claim to maintenance in certain circumstances such as if he is guilty of desertion, or if he has treated her with such cruelty as defined under the Act, or if there is any other cause justifying living separately.