ISLAMABAD: Deploring the tendency of depriving women of their inheritance rights, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) has declared that no woman will be denied her legitimate rights on the grounds of relinquishing ownership of the property inherited by her in exchange for a gift deed, bridal gift, maintenance allowance or payment of some cash.
And in case of any deprivation of a female shareholder of her right of inheritance, the entire process will be deemed null and void, Justice Mohammad Kamran Khan Mulakhail has ordered in a judgement he wrote.
Verdict says no mutation of inheritance be carried out without transferring property in the name of all shareholders, including females
Justice Mulakhail was a member of the division bench presided over by BHC Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel that had taken up a petition moved by Advocate Mohammad Sajid Tareen, highlighting that the women’s right of inheritance is not being regarded and in the backdrop of complex tribal system in the province the women are being deprived of their legitimate rights.
The 30-page judgement says no mutation process of inheritance in future be carried out without transferring the property firstly in the name of all shareholders, including females. If any property is transferred/mutated by concealing or excluding the names of female shareholders, the entire process will be treated as null and void and liable to be reversed without even approaching the court of civil jurisdiction.
Likewise, no process of family settlement will be carried unless it is assured that the names of female shareholders are included in the process.
The secretary/senior member of the Board of Revenue (BoR) will ensure that before starting the settlement operation, a leaflet/handbill about the judgement, written in Urdu and local language, will be distributed in the girls’ schools/colleges, hospitals and door to door.
Likewise, the deputy commissioners are directed to publicise the judgement in Urdu and local language on loudspeaker in mosques and madressahs, and in the streets accompanied by drum beat in the area where a settlement operation is to take place.
The director general of NADRA has been directed to establish a special desk at the revenue office of the relevant district/tehsil for provision of family tree of the deceased, whose property is either likely to be inherited or settled during the settlement operation to ensure inclusion of names of female legal heirs of a deceased.
The NADRA director general has also been directed to ensure that a woman’s name has been included in the family tree of her husband after her marriage through registration track system, besides the origin of her father’s family will also be ascertained to avoid any deprivation of her legal rights.
The BoR officials have also been directed to establish a complaint cell at the revenue offices to avoid any unnecessary delay in the process of inheritance and settlement operation and also to eradicate the possibility of illegal gratification.
The member of the BoR and his subordinate officials have been strictly directed that in case of any complaint about deprivation of a female of her legal rights, legal action will be initiated against the wrong doers by registering a criminal case under Section 498-A of the PPC, the judgement warns.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2021