Rajasthan official asks women to voluntarily give up rights to land

NUMEROUS Women Organisations have condemned the statement issued by a Rajasthan’s Tehsildar appealing to the public to make women voluntarily give up their rights from the khatedari (parental agricultural land). Calling the statement obnoxious, the rights groups have demanded immediate suspension of Dilip Singh Prajapati, a Tehsildar in Digod Tehsil who wrote a letter titled, ‘Make Raksha Bandhan memorable, get sisters to voluntarily give up their rights’.

The Tehsildar, in his letter, said, “After the demise of a khatedar, the name of his daughter, son, and wife are mentioned in his place. However, there is a tradition since generations that sisters and daughters don’t take their share from parental agricultural land and immovable property and instead take her share from the assets of her in-laws. Some women want to voluntarily give up this right, but this doesn’t happen due to the negligence and carelessness of farmers”.

“The letter is a setback for not only the women of Rajasthan but all the women of the country, causing us women trauma, with the openly prejudicial attitude towards women, by an authority on land and revenue matters,” a statement issued by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties(PUCL), Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan, women’s Rehabilitation Group and others, said.

The statement issued by Women’s Organisations pointed out that in India, the growth rate of single women-headed household is rising at the rate of 20 percent according to the World Bank. Out of this, a total of 11 % of households were single women, according to the 2011 census for the country. In a state like Rajasthan, women were continuously denied their basic rights, including education, choice in marriage, land rights, and where women’s unemployment was more than 28 percent. As it is  67 percent of men of working age were employed in the country but only 9 percent of all women of working age were employed, the press release said.

It added, “With this the increasing gap in employment,  instead of ensuring that provisions of section 6 of the 2005 Amended Hindu Succession Act, 1956, are implemented to the hilt, this shocking press note completely violates the law of the land, which unequivocally confers coparcenary rights to daughters born before or after the amendment in the same manner as the son. Which is a right by birth for all daughters like the son”.

The statement also alleged that the Tehsildar’s letter amounted to contempt of the Supreme Court’s judgment in “Vineeta Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma and others”, in which it has said that the daughters cannot be deprived of their right of equality conferred upon them by Section 6”

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