Legal Advice

Does Step mother have rights on my grandfather’s dowry property? 

Shivendra Pratap Singh


High Court Lucknow


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Question asked on: 30 May, 2022

Question: Hello sir, During my parent’s marriage in the 1950 my grandfather (mother’s side) gave 20kg of gold and 10 acres of land as dowry to my father. Does Step mother have rights on my grandfather’s dowry property? When I was 6 years old, my mother passed away and then my father married another lady who didn’t bring anything from her home. Recently my father passed away without writing any Will and now my stepmother says there is no asset left to share with me and my brother. 

My stepmother has 2 sons and 1 daughter. Without our knowledge, my stepmom shared all assets with them. I am a 50 years old housewife fighting for my grandfather’s assets and my brother is now below the poverty line status. Need some guidance regarding our rights. Is there any possibility of getting my grandfather’s assets? 

Asked from: Andhra Pradesh

It was your grandfather’s self acquired property. All gifts or dowry husband received in marriage is the exclusive property. No one can claim rights in that property. Even the wife has no right to get a share in that property. 

If your grandfather died intestate i.e. without making a Will, the property will devolve as per the law of inheritance. Accordingly, the widow has no absolute right in that property. The widow and all the children of your grandfather will get equal share. 

If your step grandmother has alienated that property and is now saying that she has no property in her hand, then you can lodge an FIR for the criminal breach of trust. Lodge an FIR against her under section 406 of the Indian Penal Code. 

The agricultural land will devolve as per the land revenue code. According to land laws, all the legal heirs of deceased, whether male or female, will get equal share. However, the widow will get equal share but she has limited right in that property. She cannot alienate that property to any other person. However, she can make a will and transfer that property to any legal heirs of her husband.