The courts grant daughters an equal right in the father’s property, which, without a doubt, is a great decision. However, does the court put the responsibility of taking care of old parents on the daughter like they put it on the son? Some may say daughter don’t always earn, hence, they can’t take responsibilities of aging parents. In that case, shouldn’t the son-in-law, who was given a fortune at the time of marriage, and another fortune at the time of division of property, be responsible for these ageing parents-in-law?
Think about this case:
A 28-year-old woman given exactly the same education as her brother opts to not work. She spends her days dreaming of the perfect instagrammy or pinteresty wedding. To afford this dream, not only her father has to shelve out a big chunk of his retirement money, the 24-year-old brother has to take out a big personal loan.
The younger brother, who has just started his career, is tied down by the instalments which will go on for the next 4 years. Let’s not forget the interest on the principal amount that this boy will have to pay from his pocket.
Not that the groom’s family demands a lot of dowry. But, ya.. it will be great if the bride’s family can help bear the reception cost. The daughter wants it to be grand also. So, wrapped in gold and her wedding finery, the daughter leaves for her new home.
The following year the couple welcomes a child. As per tradition, the child birth takes in the daughter’s paternal home. The brother pays the hospital bills. The old father is now expected to gift some gold to the new-born.
Just a Reminder: The younger brother is still paying off instalments of loan taken during the wedding.
The child turns 3. One day looking at a fancy car on the road, she starts crying. The daughter, instead of comforting the baby, calls her father. “Your granddaughter started crying looking at a car. She finds it really tough travelling in our two-wheeler, dad.”
“My granddaughter was crying for a car.” Melts down the father. The daughter and her husband coaxes this father into making the down payment of a new car, for the love of the little one. Easy.
Just a reminder: The brother is still paying off instalments.
“Your jijaji is tied up, can you take me to shopping for your niece’s third birthday, bhaai?” calls the sister while the brother is still at work. No, he can’t deny. Needless to say he was the one who paid for all the purchases for the “birthday party.”
Days passed… years passed.
The old father has grown fragile. The mother is weak too. They need to be looked after. Meanwhile, a sense of discontentment has sprung up between the siblings. They decide to divide the property and walk out of each other’s lives with their shares.
“You can’t drive anymore, dad. Bhai is single. His bike is enough for him. Is it okay if we keep your Honda city? Our car is old now. And maroon in your granddaughter favourite color.”
“Yes yes, sure. Take it. Its all our little munchkin’s.” says the mother. The brother stands there, like the youngest is supposed to.
The property is divided into two equal parts. One half goes to the daughter. The other will stay with the son.
“I will stay with you for a few days. Has been so long since I have stayed with the little one.” The mother tells the daughter.
“How can I keep you, Maa? The expenses are so high these days. I don’t even earn. You stay with bhai. He will take care of you both. It’s the son’s duty after all.”
The son obliges and brings both the parents to his flats in the city he works. Finally pays off the last instalment of the personal loan he had taken for his elder sister’s wedding.
While the Indian legal system has given equal right to property to all children, son or daughter, did the son at all get the equal share?
For how long will such daughter’s hide behind, “I can’t take care of my parents because I don’t work?”
If a son-in-law, through his wife, can take half (practically speaking, way more than half) of his father-in-law’s property, shouldn’t it be incumbent on this son-in-law to care for the old parents-in-law also?
There is a famous proverb: A son is a son till he has a wife. A daughter is a daughter for life.
Really? With this saying, are we not belittling millions of sons, who are caring for their parents while paying for younger siblings’ education or marriage, single-handedly?
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