Married women’s right over spousal property is a contentious issue in many countries, including India. In India, the traditional patriarchal system has led to a significant imbalance in the distribution of property between men and women. This has resulted in women being denied their rightful share in spousal property, which has further perpetuated gender inequality. In this article, we will critically analyze the rights of married women over spousal property with headings.

Historical Context of Women’s Property Rights in India

The history of women’s property rights in India can be traced back to ancient times. During the Vedic period, women had the right to inherit property. However, with the arrival of foreign invasions and colonization, women’s property rights were gradually eroded. The British introduced several laws that discriminated against women, including the Hindu Widow’s Remarriage Act, 1856, which denied women the right to inherit their husband’s property. It was only after independence that the Indian Constitution recognized women’s right to property as a fundamental right.

Married Women’s Right to Spousal Property in India

The Constitution of India guarantees equal rights to men and women. However, in practice, women continue to face discrimination in various spheres of life, including the right to spousal property. The laws related to spousal property in India include:

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

This act provides for the division of spousal property between husband and wife in case of divorce or death of either spouse.

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956

This act provides for the distribution of property among heirs in case of the death of a Hindu, including a married woman.

The Married Women’s Property Act, 1874

This act provides for the right of a married woman to hold and dispose of property independently of her husband.

However, despite the existence of these laws, women in India continue to face several obstacles in asserting their right to spousal property. One of the primary reasons for this is the prevalence of traditional gender roles and the patriarchal mindset that views women as secondary to men.

Challenges Faced by Married Women in Asserting Their Right to Spousal Property

The challenges faced by married women in asserting their right to spousal property include:

Lack of awareness – Many women in India are not aware of their legal rights related to spousal property.

Societal pressure – Women are often discouraged from asserting their right to spousal property due to societal pressure.

Legal complexities – The legal system in India can be complex and challenging to navigate, particularly for women who are not well-educated.

Harassment and intimidation – Women who try to assert their right to spousal property may face harassment and intimidation from their husbands or in-laws.

Lack of access to legal resources – Women from marginalized communities may face difficulty in accessing legal resources and representation.


Married women’s right to spousal property is an essential issue that requires urgent attention in India. The existing laws related to spousal property provide for equal distribution of property between husband and wife. However, women continue to face several challenges in asserting their right to spousal property due to societal pressure, lack of awareness, legal complexities, harassment and intimidation, and lack of access to legal resources. Addressing these challenges will require a concerted effort from the government, civil society, and the legal system. It is crucial to recognize the rights of married women over spousal property as a fundamental human right to promote gender equality and justice in society.

Written By Advocate Associate Yash Karan Yadav

Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates


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