Seventy-five years of Indian independence has observed numerous changes in many areas. From a point of women’s perspective, these modifications are important for their life. The word women’s status refers to women’s situation in absolute terms as well as terms comparable to men.
The rights of women relate to the freedom and entitlements of all women despite their race, caste and age. In India, there are several religions like Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, Jews, Muslim Christian who follows their personal laws. Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs follows Hindu Personal Law.
The Status of women in various personal laws:-
In the traditional male-dominant Indian society the status of women in various personal laws are given below:
Marriage is a system of roles of a man and a woman whose union has been provided social consent as husband and wife.
Marriage under Hindu Law: Under Hindu, law marriage is considered a sacramental union, which once tied cannot be unified. Women have given a significant role in Hindu marriage. The wife is ardhangini of her husband, her husband cannot perform any duties without her. The wife is also the source of dharma, kama, artha and moksha. The women are samurajyi and grihalakshmi. Marriage ceremonies are said to be finalized when the customary ceremonies and rituals are exclusively performed.
Marriage under Muslim Law: In Muhammadans, law marriage is a civil contract. The object of marriage in Muslim law is the right of enjoyment and the procreation of children. Husband is liable to pay dower which is a sum of wealth that was paid to his wife.
Divorce is also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of discontinuing a marriage. It usually encompasses the cancelling of the legal responsibilities of marriage.
Divorce under Hindu law: There are some provisions provided respecting a valid divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. As per Section 13(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 at a person can move toward the court and seek the remedy of divorce. Section 13(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 furnishes the grounds on which only the wife can move toward the court and seek the remedy of divorce. The grounds are- Physical Cruelty and Mental cruelty, Desertion, Conversion, Insanity, Leprosy, Venereal Disease, Renunciation, Presumption of Death and divorce with mutual consent.
Divorce under Muslim law: In Muslim law, a woman can seek divorce on the ground, they are – If the husband does not give any maintenance to the wife for at least two years;
If the husband’s locality is not known to the wife for a term of four years;
If the husband has been imprisoned for at least seven years;
If the girl is married before 15 years and she prefers to end the marriage before she turns 18 years;
If the husband is not eligible to fulfill the marital commitment; and
If the husband is relinquishes in acts of cruelty against his wife.
Inheritance rights are the devolution of the property, possession, debts, right to another person on the demise of a person.
Inheritance Rights under Hindu Law: As per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 a Hindu woman is allowed an equal share of his husband’s property. Section 10 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 stated the distribution of property takes place among all inheritors that contain the deceased’s widow. A Hindu married woman has rights given over her individual property. She is the only owner and administrator of her assets.
Inheritance Rights under Muslim Law: The Muslim woman is allowed to maintaining and has ability over her property. In case of intolerance among wives by her husband, the wife may take action against him. She is allowed to be expended an equal amount as his other wives. A wife without children is allowed to obtain 1/4 share of the property but women with children are allowed to get 1/8 share in the husband’s property.
Inheritance Rights under Christian Law: Under the Indian Succession Act t 1925, Christian Women has the right to get a share in the property. If the husband of Christian women with children died then the wife will get 1/3 share and the persisting 2/3 share will be allocated among all children.
If the husband of Christian women died and the wife has no children then the property will move to the wife.
The idea behind maintenance is to put the wife back in a similar situation of comfort and lifestyle as she was at the moment when her marriage existed.
Maintenance under Hindu Law: As per Section 18(1) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 a Hindu wife is allowed to provide the maintenance after divorce from her spouse until she or he dies. According to Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 a Hindu wife either receives divorce or is given divorce by her husband and who has not remarried to another man is allowed to receive maintenance by her husband.
Maintenance under Muslim Law: In Muslim law, the divorced Muslim woman does not have the right to claim maintenance from her spouse after the iddat period. Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Divorce Act, 1986 insures the rights of Muslim women.
Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 allowed Muslim women to get maintenance from their husband if they are unable to maintain themselves.
Maintenance under Christian Law: Under Section 37 of the Indian Divorce Act, a Christian woman can claim maintenance from her husband through the civil court or High court.
The Constitution of India provided women with rights but some women in this society are largely unaware of their rights due to the fact illiteracy and severe tradition. The laws about women’s right in India are recognized to be acquainted from holy ancient Scriptures which cannot be modified for the religious belief. In today’s era, education is the sole thing that can modify a woman’s status.
By Shreeparna Goswami
3rd year of Shyambazar Law College.
 Dr. Paras Diwan, Modern Hindu Law, pg. 63 (23 Edition, 2018).
 Comparative Status Of Women Under Various Personal Laws | Law Corner, https://lawcorner.in/comparative-status-of-women-under-various-personal-laws/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20given%20rights,until%20she%20or%20he%20dies.
 Rights of Women (Hindu, Muslim and Christian) on Property | TaxGuru, https://taxguru.in/corporate-law/rights-women-hindu-muslim-christian-property.html.
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1 thought on “Comparative Status of Women under Various Personal Laws”
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