The Himachal Pradesh government moved a step further to promote gender equality in the state, where the laws till now forbade the daughters to get equal rights in the land of parental land holdings.
The Himachal Pradesh assembly has voted for a bill to amend the 51-year-old legislation Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings Act of 1972 for providing equitable rights in landholding to the adult daughter -- married and unmarried.
This was purely an initiative by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who wants the girls’ rights to be fully protected and she gets an equitable share in the landholdings of the parents in their lifetime.
As per the amendment, the adult daughter will be permitted to have separate independent land of up to 150 bighas. The state government has rectified the error by inserting the words, "or daughter" after the word "son" in sub-section 4 of section 4 of the existing Act.
“The bill includes the daughter at par with the son as a separate independent unit. Earlier, the Act allowed an adult son to have an additional 150 bighas of land while denying the same right to an adult daughter. As a result, families with an adult daughter will have the same land rights as those with an adult son, totalling up to 300 bighas of land,” Chief Minister Sukhu told Outlook.
The bill, Himachal Pradesh Ceiling on Land Holdings (Amendment) Act, 2023, that was introduced in the State Assembly on March 29, 2023, by the Chief Minister was passed on Monday.
"By making the necessary amendment, the state government is providing succour to lakhs of families in the State having daughters. This amendment aims to ensure that families with daughters have equal rights in land ownership, removing the unconstitutional clause that promotes gender inequality,” the Chief Minister said.
The Bill paves the way to remove gender discrimination in line with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
Amendment in the Act is aimed to provide relief to lakhs of families in the State having daughters, as it would enable their daughter to have an additional unit of 150 bighas of land.
The move has been widely welcomed by all sections of society as a positive step towards empowering women in the state.
Rajesh Dharmani, a third-time Congress MLA, says "The amendment is not only timely but also will change the mindset of the people towards daughters, few of them had faced harassment or even lived a tough life. There have been prolonged litigations in families over the rights of the daughters."