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Women & Law of Inheritance Syeda Viquar-un-nisa Hashmi President 10 th Oct. 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Women & Law of Inheritance Syeda Viquar-un-nisa Hashmi President 10 th Oct. 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women & Law of Inheritance Syeda Viquar-un-nisa Hashmi President 10 th Oct. 2012

2 What is Inheritance? Inheritance in common parlance means money or property derived from one’s parents or ancestor. In legal terms it is the property received from an ancestor under the laws of inheritance or a property that a person receives by bequest or devise.

3 Primitive Practices

4 Total denial of Women’s Right to Inheritance (e.g., in Africa, Arab and hindus (the followers of the schools of thought like Baudhayana and Vasishtha.)) Women’s entitlement to Inheritance subject to conditions or under limited circumstances Women’s entitlement to Dowry/ Maintenance instead of share in inheritance (e.g., Babylonia) Women’s equal right to inheritance (Feudal) Women’s right to inheritance in preference to men. (Hindus polyandrous tribes of the promiscuous type)

5 Impact of Religions

6 Judaism CONCEPTS Daughters are entitled to inheritance on equal footing with son. “and their father granted them inheritance along with their brothers. (Job, 42:15) Daughter (s) can inherit only in the absence of male legal heir. “Say to Israelites, ‘if a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance to his daughters” (Numbers 27:8) Women are not entitled to inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:16)

7 Christianity Same concept as in Judaism No direct verse on women’s right to Inheritance Progressive interpretations of biblical directive grant women right to inheritance on equal footing with men

8 Islam Women have right to inheritance as: Sharer Residuaries Distinct kindred Residuary in his own right Residuary in another’s right Residuary with another

9 Zoroastrianism (followed by Parsis) Equality of Rights Excommunication on marrying a person of different religion

10 Prevailing policy /legal framework in Pakistan

11 Constitutional Guarantees International Commitments CEDAW Prevailing Laws Prevention of Anti-women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Act, 2011 Muhammaden Law Christian Law Christian’s women’s Right to Inheritance Hindu Law Parsi Law

12 Prevailing Customary Practices

13 Women’s rights to inheritance Denial of Right Voluntary withdrawal of right Withdrawal of right under Compulsion: “Haq Bukhshwana” (Balochistan, NWFP and interior Sind). Hindrances in Women’s access to Court of law/litigation and out-door activities

14 Other Factors Impacting Women’s Right to Inheritance Discriminatory attitudes towards women Lack of Decision making power Family system Marriage system Arranged Marriages Exchange Marriage (watta satta) Walvar (bride price) Non-Registration of Marriage and Birth

15 Lacunas in the Prevailing Implementation Mechanism No exclusive policy no uniform mechanism

16 Land Revenue Act Lack of title Nominal penalty on default of registration or on furnishing wrong information Lack of Mandatory provision for the production of birth, death and marriage registration certificates of the legal heirs No mandatory provision for the publication of notice after Shijra-e-Nasb and waiting period for receiving claims Transfer of female Right to inheritance in favour of male legal heirs

17 Succession Act Lack of detailed determination of right to inheritance

18 Registration of Births, Deaths & Marriages Act, 1886 Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 Lack of Compulsory registration of the Births, Death and Marriages Lack of legal sanction

19 Practical aspect of Implementation Mechanism Union Council & its Functionaries Nikah (Marriage) Registrar Educational institutions Health Department (BHUs/RHCs etc.) National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) Revenue Department Subordinate Judiciary

20 Implications of the lacunas on Women (Findings of NCSW’s Research Study)

21 Negative Portrayal of Women Women are incapable of managing their own property Men ………………. 36.58% Women ……………27.17% Women should not possess the property at all. Men 15.3% Women 13.33%

22 Denial of Right to take Decision Selection of job/profession – 66% Selection of Spouse – 76% Independence in travel – 66.1% Interaction with people – 64.9%

23 Family and Marriage system Arranged marriages - 63.5% Walvar’ - 14.87% Watta satta - 10.91% Court marriage – 2.25%

24 Non-Registration of Birth Female – 49.4% Men – 50.6%

25 Reasons Customary Practices – 40.58% Lack of system - 10% No immediate need – 30.08%

26 Challenges Frequency of women having faced Challenges – 55.57% Types of Challenges: Customary practices - 53% Procedural – 19% Legal system - 27.4%

27 Women’s access to Court of law/litigation and out- door activities Problems in getting Justice Eda Khan’s case Lack of Monitoring Mechanism

28 Way Forward

29 Legal reforms Revenue record must be computerized to facilitate women in having access to legal documents. The taskforce with its members from both public sector as well as Civil Society Organizations, should be constituted in Sindh to investigate cases of marriage to the Holy Qur’an. The taskforce should be enabled to initiate criminal proceedings in Court on behalf of the aggrieved women. The customary practices of watta satta and wulvar should be banned and made punishable offences. The topic of ‘Women’s Right to Inheritance’ must be introduced in the curriculum at School, College and University levels as a separate subject. Birth certificate from Union Council must be mandatory for admission in the primary schools.

30 f.School administration should be held responsible for verifying the date of birth from the Birth Registry at union Council. g. Marriage and Divorce Registry must be held responsible for verifying the date of birth/age of both the bride and bride groom from the Birth Registry. h.Training and gender sensitization of lady councilors, Patwari, Tehsildar and Nikahkhuwan and utilizing their services for bringing about positive change in the perception of people about the concept of women’s rights to inheritance. i.Lady local government councilors should be involved in monitoring the process of transferring the inherited property to the women legal heirs of the deceased person. j. Sharia Fatwa must be prohibited unless specifically authorized in writing by the PIMRC in individual cases.

31 k.Dissemination of knowledge/awareness about women’s right to inheritance through media. l.Legal documents should be made reader friendly and easily understandable to both men and women. m.Capacity building of the concerned officials. n.Women should be inducted at all the tiers of Revenue department for dealing with the matters of inheritance. p.Judicial reforms should be implemented as per the essence of access to justice program. q.Consultation meetings on the law of inheritance of both Muslims and Non-Muslims be held to discuss the gender issues with the objective to initiate reforms in the prevailing laws of the land on the basis of justice and equity.


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