Women Can Become Heads of Households in India Says Court Ruling

Women Can Become Heads of Households in India Says Court Ruling

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Indian women have won the right to be considered the head of a household.

Previously, the role of “Karta” in any family residing in one home was only available to men. The Delhi High Court changed that, announcing that they have overturned the long standing law in favor of equality for women.

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As the designated leader of a family, the Karta is in charge of property, inheritance, and other family decisions.

The case before the court was brought by an eldest daughter who wanted to take over the family business after her father, brothers, and uncle had all passed away. Under a 1956 law, the role of Karta passed to one of her nephews.

Her lawyers argued that a 2005 amendment granting women the right to inheritance should also extend the “fundamental right of equality guaranteed by the Constitution” to women who want to serve as head of a household.

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“If a male member…by virtue of his being the first born eldest, can be a Karta, so can a female member,” Justice Najmi Waziri of the Delhi High Court said in the December judgment which was only made public in February.

The rule allows the eldest woman member of a family to become Karta, and applies to India’s Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) — which is the country’s legally recognized family group created by Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh Indians through marriage.

(READ more at The Hindu) — Photo: Michael Coghlan, CC

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