In Meghalaya, a district autonomous council is aiming to change a Khasi tribal inheritance tradition in which the family’s youngest daughter receives the whole inheritance.
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), an autonomous body established under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule, is set to introduce the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021, on November 8 in the autumn session of the Council for “equitable distribution” of parental property among siblings – both male and female.
The Khasis are a matrilineal culture that passes on their ancestors via their mothers’ clans.
“All of the parents’ property is inherited by the youngest daughter in Khasi tradition.” As a consequence, siblings (not only males but even oldest female siblings) do not get their fair share, according to KHADC head Titosstarwell Chyne, who added that it has caused “a lot of issues.”
“Boys are often unable to get loans due to a lack of collateral.” When a couple has no children and no legitimate successor, the clan will often take over the land. It results in a slew of child-parent legal battles.”
While the Bill’s “primary purpose” is to ensure “equitable distribution” of ancestral property, Chyne added another component that would allow parents to choose who they wish to inherit their property. “Another law will bar a sibling from inheriting parental property if they marry a non-Khasi and embrace the spouse’s traditions,” he said.
If passed, the proposed Bill will change an age-old tribal tradition in Meghalaya in a unique and substantial way.
It is too early to predict if such a Bill would be enacted into law in Meghalaya, according to commentators, since the process is lengthy and might elicit resistance. Furthermore, even if the KHADC passes it, the power to establish a district council legislation ultimately resides with the state assembly, as stated in paragraph 12A of the Sixth Schedule.
Source: The Indian Express