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

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

TISS Hyderabad: Burden of funds cut falls on students from 'marginalized' sections

Counterview Desk
Top activists associated with the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a civil society network, including Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Dr Binayak Sen, and Prafulla Samantara, has protested against the decision of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) administration for “sine die” closure of TISS, Hyderabad Campus, even as “denying” hostel access to Dalit and Adivasi students.