Women's inheritance can only be claimed in their lifetime, rules SC

Published September 23, 2021
A file photo of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File
A file photo of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. — AFP/File

The Supreme Court (SC) ruled on Thursday that a woman's inheritance could only be claimed in her lifetime and her children could not lay a claim after her death.

The apex court issued the ruling in a case wherein the children of two deceased women, who were residents of Peshawar, claimed a share in their maternal grandfather, Isa Khan's property.

Isa Khan had transferred his property to his son, Abdul Rehman, in 1935, without giving a share to either of his two daughters. Neither of his daughters had challenged the move in their lifetime to claim their right on their father's property.

Their children, however, had filed a case in 2004 to claim their share in Khan's property.

While a civil court had ruled in their favour at the time, the high court had later nullified the judgement.

At the hearing in Islamabad on Thursday, the SC upheld the high court's decision, with Justice Umar Ata Bandial observing that the law provided protection to women's inheritance rights.

Women's inheritance rights bill

In June, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill 2019 (section 7).

The bill is aimed at helping women get their due right of property ownership.

The statement of object and reason of the bill said the Constitution gives due respect to women in society and guarantees their right of ownership.

“However, the rights of ownership of women in inheritance are violated usually by their family members by means of coercion, fraud, fabrication, forgery and cheating, etc.,” read the proposed bill.

It added: “It is therefore necessary to provide an effective and speedy redressal mechanism to protect and secure the rights of ownership of women in property.”

The proposed bill said women could file a complaint with the ombudsperson if court of law does not proceed for speedy redressal of their complaints.

After completing legal formalities when the ombudsperson announces the decision, the deputy commissioner concerned will submit the compliance report within seven days.

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