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

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”