Hindu widows to get husband’s property share; verdict published
Published: 06:40 PM, 12 October 2021
High Court; File Photo
The Hindu widows will get a share in all the property of the husband including the homestead – the High Court (HC) has published a full copy of the mentioned historical verdict.
The verdict states that Hindu Women’s Rights to Property Act (1937) will be applicable in this case in Bangladesh.
Confirming the publish of the verdict on Tuesday, Barrister Syed Nafiul Islam, one of the lawyers in the case, said the 22-page verdict was published after the sign of Justice Md. Miftah Uddin Chowdhury’s single High Court bench.
The court ruled that the law did not specify any property. The word ‘property’ means all property including movable or immovable, real estate, agricultural land, cash or any other type of property. There is no opportunity to differentiate between “agricultural land and homestead” and such property is necessary for the survival of the widow.
Justice Md. Miftah Uddin Chowdhury’s single High Court bench gave the verdict in the light of a hearing of a petition (revision) regarding the property of a Hindu family in Khulna on September 2, 2020.
According to the case details, Rajbihari Mandal’s son Abhimanyu’s wife Gauridashi was deprived of his husband’s property and agricultural land after his death. Later, she filed a case, mentioning that she was living on her husband’s homestead and apparently depended on her father-in-law’s farmland for her livelihood. In the case of Gauridashi, the defendant, in this case, the Dayabhaga system of Hindu law was applicable and she (Gauri) will inherit all the property left by her father-in-law just like the son who died before her father as per Section 3 (1) of the 1937 Act.
Barrister Ujjal Bhowmik assisted in handling the case as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court).
Later, lawyer Ujjal Bhowmik said Hindu widows lost their share of agricultural land in a verdict of the Indian Federal Court in 1948 - which later attached to the law of Bangladesh from 1972.
“However, due to today’s historic verdict, Hindu widows regained their husband’s property after 83 years. From now on the wives will get a share in all the properties of the husband including the agricultural land,” he added.
Noted that under the prevailing law in the country, Hindu widows do not get a share of their husband’s agricultural land. However, in 1996, agricultural land was recorded in the name of Gauridashi, a Hindu widow from Khulna. Following the same year, Jyotindra Nath Mandal, Gauridashi’s brother-in-law, filed a case against her in the Khulna Judicial Court (Batiaghata). Later, the court ruled that Hindu widows were “entitled” to their husband’s “non-agricultural” land but can not own it. Gauridashi then appealed to the Khulna Judge's Court in 1996 against the verdict. According to the petition, the Hindu widow will get her husband’s share of agricultural land.
After that, the appeal hearing in the High Court against the verdict of the Khulna Judge’s Court began. The High Court gave the verdict after a lengthy hearing on both sides and the opinion of the Amicus Curiae.