Skip to main content

Top UK NGO Oxfam bats for Hindu personal law and common civil code, criticizes Muslim, Christian, tribal laws

By Our Representative
Providing a strong view in favour of having a common civil code, top UK-based NGO, Oxfam's India branch has praised through a policy brief the Hindu personal law in its present form, saying it “allows women the right to own land and independently manage its affairs.”
Pointing out that, as of today, “the law includes ownership of agricultural land by women, thanks to the amendment in 2005”, it regrets, only some states “like Uttar Pradesh and a few others do not follow the amendment.”
At the same time, the policy brief, prepared by Dr Ashok Sircar and published as Oxfam Policy Brief No 19 (June 2016) has sharply criticised Muslim, Christian and Tribal personal laws.
It says, “The Muslim personal law does not allow for women’s share in agricultural land, except in a few states which have recently amended this”, adding, “Muslim women get one third of the share of the estate property, while men get two thirds of it.”
Coming to the Christian personal law, the policy brief says, “Under the Indian Succession Act (ISA) 1925 Christian widows get one third of the estate property and the male and female linear descendants get two thirds of it, equally divided among them.”
As for the tribals, Oxfam says, they have “their own customary practices, which typically deny women their land share, again, barring a few exceptional situations”, adding, “While the personal laws and tenurial land laws make unequal provisions for women’s land share, the societal practices irrespective of these laws, deny women their land share even when it is permitted under law.”
Titled “Women’s right to agricultural land: Removing legal barriers for achieving gender equality”, the policy brief seeks to outlines “gaps that exist in the realisation of women’s land rights on agricultural land”, even as calling for “immediate collective action aimed at removing the structural barriers in inheritance, leasing, and joint ownership of privately held land in favour of women.”
Insisting that “it has become critical that inheritance of agricultural land be brought under a uniform code”, the policy brief says, this would ensure women “equal rights at par with men as per Hindu Succession Amendment Act 2005.”
Oxfam says, “Hindu Succession Act (HSA), 2005 allows women to own estate and agricultural land. This has come about after a long discourse on women’s land rights in India.” But it regrets, “Ten years of its implementation saw three major barriers in the way of ensuring clear land ownership by women.”
“For example”, it says, “Uttar Pradesh still does not honour this provision on agricultural land, and claims that since agriculture is a state subject it would continue to follow UP Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act 1950. This Act honours the inheritance rights of widows, daughters and sisters only after the rights of all male descendants are exhausted.”
Pointing out that “Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh follow the same practice in their agricultural land related laws”, Oxfam says, in these states “rights of female survivors (widow, daughter, daughter-in-law of a pre-deceased son, etc.) are honoured after the rights of male descendants in their agricultural land related laws.”
Suggesting a “different scenario exists in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh”, Oxfam says, “Here, it is seen that the names of widows and daughters routinely appear in the record of rights, but the possession of the land continues to remain with male members of the family. The women neither have a clear land share nor a clear title on the inherited land.”
The result is that, the policy brief says, there is an “abysmally poor land ownership of women in India varying between 9 and 13 per cent according to various estimates”, it says, underlining, states should “strictly implement Hindu Succession Act (HSA) 2005, and clearly partition the land, giving exclusive and identifiable land titles to women.”

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”