The law relating to the legal rights of the widows can be classified into two categories- (a) law applicable to Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh (b) law applicable to Muslim, Christian Parsi and Jew. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is applicable to the first category for the division of wealth of a person dying intestate (dying without leaving a will). The distribution of the property of a male Hinduis done in accordance with section 8 and 9 of The Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Accordingly, the property woulddevolve upon his Class I heirs who take the property simultaneously to the exclusion of all other heirs. If there are no Class I heirs, property devolves upon Class II and if there are no Class II heirs, to agnates followed by cognates. A widow is a Class I heir and therefore has a legal right in the property of her husband who died intestate. She has a simultaneous right in the property with other Class I heirs (if any). A widow or if there are more than one widows, all the widows together take one share whereas the surviving son, daughter and mother take one share each. Example- if a Hindu male dies intestate leaving behind two widows and a son, both the widows shall get one-half (which will be divided equally) and the son would get the other half.
Muslims are governed under The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, and Christians, Parsis and Jews underIndian Succession Act, 1925.