Giving women their rightful due

It was heartening to read two good articles, one by Dr S.S. Johl, “Daughters at a disadvantage” (March 20) and the second, “Saving the girl child” by Dr Manmohan Kaur (March 21). Both have delved into the malaise faced by women in India. The government must root out the problem of female foeticide. A tough executive action can only stop this criminal act.

Even after 50 years of enactment of the Hindu Succession Act, there is no perceptible change in the natural inheritance rights in the property of deceased fathers. Provisions of this Act remain on paper and the claimants are at the mercy of land revenue officials. The Punjab Land Revenue Act has not been implemented in letter and spirit. Claimants to their rightful inheritance move from pillar to post.

In Earlier History of Institutions (p. 339), Sir Henry Mains says, “the degree in which personal immunity and proprietary capacity of women are recognised in a particular state or community is a test of advancement of its civilization”. In all progressive democracies, efforts are afoot to do away with unequal rights relating to women. Man by birth has been a privileged class in India in comparison to women. So, Maine opined that the status of women has progressed to contract.

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Manu, in his Smriti (Chapter III, verses 55 to 57), states that where women are honoured and adorned there Gods are pleased, but where they are not honoured, no sacred fire yields regards. The ancient text says, Angadangat Sambhavati Duhita Nrnam, which means that daughters like sons are also born from the bodies of their parents.



Dr Johl asserts that the purpose of the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 2005, is to empower women and provide security to the girl child, but this may result in exactly the opposite. The girls will be put on a weak wicket. As soon as a girl is married, she should automatically become an equal partner in the property and wealth of her in-laws as may be her husband, he says.

I differ a bit with his inference that the girl child would have share in her parent’s property and wealth only till she is married. Such a right would cease soon after her marriage and the corresponding right would be vested in her in-laws’ property and wealth at par with her husband since socially and legally she becomes part and parcel of their family. Such a right and share in property would be available to her even in the event of divorce.

The political elite should seek women’s empowerment in tune with the socio-cultural ethos of the country.



The Centre and the states, social organisations, the National Commission for Women, the National Human Rights Commission are all treating the symptom and not the disease. Sadly, no one feels happy when a daughter is born. The parents remain worried about the daughter’s marriage. Our society has double standards. While marrying their sons, the parents try to squeeze the girls’ parents as much as possible.

Dowry deaths have become the order of the day. The government is doing little to check this menace. The legislation has failed to serve its purpose. Instead of fighting this menace, the government is trying to increase women’s quota in Parliament. How will this help?

Ministers like Lalu Prasad Yadav are spending lavishly on the marriage of their daughters. When the Supreme Court of Pakistan could bring comprehensive reforms in marriages of that country, what are we doing?

K.K. BHARDWAJ, Patiala

Shorter version better

It has been a long-standing practice with newspapers to use abbreviated names of various personalities in their reports. It is easy to understand why that is done but in a few isolated cases the shortened names strike a very jarring note.

Examples are ‘Nazrul’ for ‘Nazr-ul-Islam’, ‘Ashraful’ for ‘Ashraf-ul-Haq’, and ‘Habibul’ for ‘Habib-ul-Haq’. The reason is that such names are specific words in the original Arabic with ‘ul’ in them literally meaning ‘of’. We are, therefore, confronted with part-words which have ‘of’ hanging in the air awkwardly at their end. The shortening of names, it seems, is here to stay, but it will certainly be better if the briefer version can avoid the clearly out-of-place ‘of’ at its end.


Age limit for judges

The Centre’s proposal to appoint retired judges above 65 years of age as ad hoc judges to clear the huge backlog of cases will mar the career prospects of the youth. Undoubtedly, courts need experienced judges. The retired judges, with their experience, will help clear cases to some extent.

However, it would be better if we raise the age limit for taking the civil/judicial services examination up to 45 years. This will help resolve the problem of shortage of judges as also clear the backlog of cases.

S.C. UMMAT, Advocate, Chandigarh


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