ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday declared that a woman’s inheritance could only be claimed in her lifetime and her heirs could not seek a claim after her death.

An SC bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, was hearing a case filed by the children of two deceased women, who were residents of Peshawar, claiming 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 the Peshawar High Court in 2004 to claim their share in Isa Khan’s property. The PHC had ruled that inheritance of a woman could only be claimed in her life by her children.

Justice Bandial observed that the law provided protection to women’s inheritance rights. “We have to look at what happens if women give up their rights or do not claim,” he said.

The Supreme Court had in August expressed serious concern over the executive’s slackness in protecting the rights of women’s inheritance. It had held: “The state must ensure the protection of rights which is far easier, cheaper and less wasteful of public resources than restoring rights through the courts, which is laborious, expensive and needlessly wasteful of resources. This is all the more disconcerting in an Islamic republic the Constitution of which specifically protects property rights and enables the making of special provision for the protection of women and children.”

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2021

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