Their brothers seized their share by forging signatures
The Lahore High Court has ruled in favour of two sisters, deprived of rightful inheritance in their father’s property for over 37 years. Justice Rasaal Hassan Syed issued a 15-page document of the verdict.
At a hearing on Friday, the petitioners, Kamala Bibi and Lalu Bibi, told the court that their brothers seized their share of inheritance by forging their father’s signatures. “They falsely declared that the property was given to them as a gift.”
The men, Gul Sher and Muhammad Sher, submitted a fake agreement to the Punjab Revenue Department claiming that their father had verbally gifted their sister’s share of property to them.
The sisters had earlier approached a sessions court where their appeal was rejected.
During the hearing on Friday, Justice Syed laid down rules regarding gifting property.
According to the written judgment, when a gift is not declared on paper and is announced verbally, the claimant is required to state the time, place, and date of the gift. The claimant is also required to disclose the names of the witnesses present when the gift was given.
In this case, the revenue officer, who’s responsible for confirming the agreement, was not present. A signature or thumbprint of the father, too, is missing from the documents.
The court pointed out that as per the case records, no attempt was made by the revenue department to ascertain the identities of the people who were present at the time of the confirmation of the agreement.
“The revenue officer didn’t try to find out the reasons why the daughters were deprived of their inherited property, while the sons were given special benefits,” the irked judge said. “No specific reasons for this discrimination were given either.”
The court noted that lower courts completely ignored the legal points in the case, consequently declaring the trial court’s decision null and void.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s inheritance can only be claimed during her lifetime and her children can not lay a claim after her death.
Earlier this year, in June, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill 2019, in a bid to ensure women get the due right of their inherited property.
“The rights of ownership of women in inheritance are violated usually by their family members by means of coercion, fraud, fabrication, forgery, and cheating, etc.,” the proposed bill stated.
“It is, therefore, necessary to provide an effective and speedy redressal mechanism to protect and secure the rights of ownership of women in the property.”
The bill added that women have the right to file a complaint with the ombudsperson if court of law does not proceed with the speedy trial of their complaints.