This article will focus on all the legal provisions relating to the property rights of daughters in Nepal.
In general, the term ‘property’ means both tangible and intangible items in which a person obtains the right of ownership and possession. Thus, all the rights to use, invest in, consume, sell, and donate are related to property. The phrase ‘property rights’ refer to a body of rights the holder obtains over those tangible or intangible things. The right to own property essentially includes the right to dispose of it.
Hence, the establishment of women’s property rights means the following understandings:
- Women’s capacity to hold ownership over the property, including their right to dispose of the property, independent of other’s consent or interference
- Women’s capacity to hold possession over property, and all derivative rights under it
- Women’s right to enjoy property through its ownership and possession
- Women’s right to obtain a remedy upon the encroachment of their property rights
If these rights are recognized and protected by law, a person’s capacity to own and possess the property is largely refined and is fully enforceable by law. Property rights must be available to both men and women without distinction on the basis of sex. The right of women to the property has been recognized as an important development issue.
Ownership of property empowers women and provides income and security. Secured property rights for women can have an impact on intra-household decision-making, income generation and acquisition, and women’s overall role and position in the household and community.
Earlier in Muluki ain, 1910 only legitimate wives were entitled to a full share of the ancestral property equal to males, whereas remarried widows, eloped daughters, and concubines could not claim the share of the ancestral property.
Muluki Ain 2020 changed the status of women in society and gave equal status to legitimately married women and eloped women. However, the 11th amendment in Muluki Ain 2020 was crucial for the daughter’s right to property. Furthermore, in many countries around the world, women’s property rights are limited by social norms and culture.
As a result, gender discrimination seems strongly related to lower per capita income, life expectancy, and literacy. Women may not fully participate in the benefits of property as members of a household if they do not share secured or formally recognized property rights over the land and/or housing.
Though there is a clear provision on sec 205 of Muluki civil code, 2074 where including wife and daughter are deemed to be considered as coparceners in partition, the reality is far from the letter of law.
Legal Provision Regarding Property Rights of Daughters in Nepal
Constitution of Nepal
Art 18 (5) of the Constitution hold the equality norm that all offspring shall have the equal right to ancestral property without discrimination on the ground of gender.
Rights of women include every woman shall have equal lineage right without gender-based discrimination. The spouse shall have the equal right to property and family affairs.
National Civil Code, 2074
Provision of property is incorporated in the National Civil Code, 2074. Any cash, good, or work shall be deemed to be a property if such cash, good, or work can be used or transacted or the title thereto can be transferred by way of purchase, sale, or otherwise or any benefit can be derived therefrom.
Likewise, the property shall be deemed to be in either movable or immovable form irrespective of its physical or non-physical, tangible or intangible form.
An Act made to amend and consolidate civil laws, which is National Civil Code in Nepal has also incorporated some of the important provisions relating to the right to property for women, including daughters, which can be studied as follows:
For the purpose to deem coparcener in a family, during the apportionment of property in common, the husband, wife, father, mother, son, and daughter are deemed to be coparceners. Each coparcener is provisioned to have equal entitlement to partition share. Further, a widow can also affect separation at any time by taking her partition share.
It is mentioned if the widow concludes another marriage, the property obtained by her by way of partition share shall devolve on the son and daughter, if any, born to her from the previous husband and, if there is no such a son or daughter, she herself may retain such property.
It is concluded that there is a direct correlation between women’s access to economic resources and physical abuse against them. If women are economically vulnerable, that exposes them to the dangers of physical abuse. Inequality in property rights is one of the causes of the vulnerability of girls and women to trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Polygamy, bigamy, and child marriage are other outcomes of the denial of equal property rights for women. Women’s backwardness in trade and commerce is obviously a result of inequality in property rights. A woman is fully empowered to dispose of property that is exclusively hers, or that she has earned by herself.
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