The Bangladesh High Court recently passed a landmark judgement. The judgement pronounced by the single judge bench of Justice Miftah Uddin Choudhury said that Hindu widows are entitled to share in all properties of their deceased husband. This means they will now have rights to both agricultural and non-agricultural lands. The HC also observed that they will have the right to sell the land for legal necessities during their lifetime. The verdict confirmed a lower court’s verdict that was pronounced in 2004 which had ruled that a widow has rights to all the properties of her husband.
Currently, Hindu widows in Bangladesh are entitled only to their dead husbands’ homesteads and not any other assets.”Hindu widows will have the rights to both agricultural and non-agricultural lands that belonged to their husbands. They will also get the right to sell the lands for legal necessities during their lifetime,” the Daily Star report said, citing the court order.
Many activists and thinkers appreciated the verdict. Rana Das Gupta, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu- Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad, said, “We always welcome any positive verdict like this.”
What You Should Know
- The Bangladesh High Court gave Hindu widows the right to share in all properties of their deceased husband.
- The order was appreciated by many and was hailed as a landmark judgement.
- The court interpreted the Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act,1937 to pronounce the judgement.
“This verdict is of course one step forward in the fight for the establishment of equality between men and women. But there’s still a long way to go to achieve the goal for equal rights of Hindu women. The Hindu leaders have never played a positive role for the Hindu widows of Bangladesh. Only we the human rights activists have been fighting for 50 years first initiated by the country’s legendary activist, Begum Sufia Kamal,” Dipty Sikder, an advocate and activist, told IANS.
Hindu Widows and Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act,1937
“After this verdict, they (widows) will get a share of agricultural land too.” said barrister Syed Nafiul Islam. Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act, 1937 is one such act that has curtailed women of their property rights but now the ambiguous inference has got a correct direction with the High Court judgement.
The verdict was preceded by one Jyotindra Nath Mandal of Khulna filing a case in 1996 seeking a court order to deprive his sister-in-law (dead brother’s wife) of their father’s assets. The lower court in the case pronounced that widows had rights only to the area of the houses in which they lived, and not at the agricultural property. Later, the district court had a different opinion, following which the matter was taken to the High Court.
Sanskriti Tiwari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV