Women’s rights groups have slammed the letter as sexist, but the official insists that his appeal to the public has no patriarchal undertone

Aug 23, 2021, Jaipur

A government official in Rajasthan’s Kota district has written a letter appealing to the public that women who want to voluntarily relinquish their rights from khatedari (parental agricultural land) should do so on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

The letter issued on August 21 from the office of Digod Tehsildar Dilip Singh Prajapati in Kota district, and signed by him, has drawn sharp criticism from women’s rights groups which have termed its contents patriarchal and sexist.

The letter says ‘press note’ on top and the subject line reads ‘Raksha Bandhan ko yaadgaar banaiye, bahino se swechhik hak tyag karvaiye (Make Raksha Bandhan memorable, get sisters to voluntarily relinquish their rights)’.

“When a khatedar passes away, the names of his son, daughter and wife are entered in his place as his natural heirs. In several religions and families, it has been the tradition for generations that sisters and daughters don’t take their share from parental agricultural land and immovable assets and instead take their share from the property of in-laws,” the appeal says.

The letter adds that sometimes women voluntarily want to relinquish this right but the process isn’t completed due to the carelessness of farmers. It goes on to say that at times when land is acquired by the government, the cheque for compensation often gets issued in the name of sisters or daughters.

“Circumstances give birth to sins and in such situations some sisters don’t return the amount of the cheque to their brothers. And in the end, the siblings die after not being on talking terms for their entire life,” it says.

Prajapati also mentions that in case of death of the woman, the names of her husband or children are added as owners, and even though the person connecting the two families have died, the son-in-law ends up selling the land at throwaway prices.

“This is just an example. Life-long court battles, even murders take place. Whereas there was a time when the sister was ready to voluntarily relinquish her rights but her name was not removed. Make Raksha Bandhan memorable, get sisters to voluntarily relinquish their rights,” says the letter.

Tehsildar Prajapati, when contacted, said his letter had no sexist undertone. “There are no patriarchal undertones in the letter. I have mentioned the words “voluntarily relinquishing” multiple times. Men and women are equal in the eyes of the law and the names of women are included in revenue records. But women who want to voluntarily relinquish their rights can do so. I have seen generations get wasted in court battles. That is why I wrote the letter. Carelessness or delay can result in disputes. This is just an appeal and not an order. I mentioned Raksha Bandhan because all sisters come to their parental homes at this time,” Prajapati said

Women’s rights activists have, meanwhile, lashed out at the appeal. “The letter reeks of patriarchy. The Constitution has given equal rights to men and women. Why is there no talk about men giving up their rights?” asked Chandrakala Sharma, state coordinator of Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan (ENSS) that works for the rights of single women including those who are widowed or divorced.

She added that several single women engaged in farming depend on parental land for sustenance. “It is up to the women whether they want to retain the right on their parental land. While working with single women, we have seen many who don’t want to relinquish their rights on parental land because it serves as a means of sustenance and they can be financially independent. Connecting the appeal to Raksha Bandhan shows an effort to pressure women emotionally,” said Sharma.

“Women who want to voluntarily relinquish their share can do so any day, irrespective of whether it’s Raksha Bandhan or not. But under no circumstance should women ever be forced or pressured to do so,” said Kota district collector Ujjawal Rathore.

Below text of the letter

Open letter to the CM expressing outrage and suspension of the Tehsildar who asked brothers to get sister’s to surrender their rights making Rakhee a memorable festival

Sh. Ashok Gehlot,

Chief minister

Rajasthan, Jaipur


1.       Immediate cancellation of the press note issued by Degod, Tehsildar, Kota district, number: rajsva/ 2021/ S.P- 6; 21st August, 2021 and an apology to all women.

2.       Immediate suspension and taking action under rule 16 CCA for dismissal due to serious indiscipline, violation of the law on property, Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (amended 2005) and

3.       Causing contempt of the SC order in the  case of Vinita Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma and others of August 2020.

4.       As part of Due diligence, taking action against the Collector Kota, for not having monitored the tehsildar, causing a setback and a cause of trauma for all women of Rajasthan and the country.

Dear Sir,

We are outraged that the Degod Tehsildar, Dilip Singh Prajapati, has issued a completely illegal, anti-women press note dated 21st, August, 2021 (serial no: rajsva/ 2021/ S.P- 6), titled “ Make Raksha Bandhan Memorable; Get sisters to surrender their rights voluntarily”, brazenly violates article 14 of the Indian Constitution. He has given an open call to all men to “make this Rakshabandhan a memorable one” by making the sisters voluntarily renounce their rights and entitlements related to land and other movable and immovable properties. This press note is a setback for not only the women of Rajasthan but all the women of the country, causing us women trauma, with the openly prejudicial attitude towards women, by an authority on land and revenue matters.

The letter advocates denial of equal rights to daughters and sons.

In a country where the growth rate of single women headed household is rising at the rate of 20 percent according to the World Bank, a total of 11 % of households were single women, according to the 2011 census for the country, where in a state like Rajasthan women are continuously denied their basic rights, including education, choice in marriage, land rights, where women’s unemployment rate in Rajasthan is more than 28 percent and for the country,  67 per cent of all men of working age are employed, only 9 per cent of all women of working age are employed, with this increasing gap in employment,  instead of ensuring that the provisions of section 6 of the 2005 Amended Hindu Succession Act, 1956, are implemented to the hilt, this shocking press note completely violates the law of the land, which unequivocally confers coparcenary rights to daughters born before or after the amendment in the same manner as the son. Which is a right by birth for all daughters like the son.

Committing the contempt of court

The Tehsildar has also committed contempt of court of the judgement which was passed by the Supreme Court on 11th August 2020, in the case titled “Vineeta Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma and others”, in the SLP (C) NO.684 OF 2016, SLP (C) NO.35994 OF 2015, SLP (C) NO.38542 OF 2016,  SLP (C) NO.6403 OF 2019, SLP (C) NO.14353 OF 2019,  SLP (C) NO.24901 OF 2019 , SLP (C) NOS.1766­1767 OF 2020. Where the SC makes it clear that “The daughters cannot be deprived of their right of equality conferred upon them by Section 6”.

The arguments of the Tehsildar as to why the denial of equal rights is required.

We are shocked that the Tehsildar goes into his own theory of why land should be surrendered by daughters and how the behaviour of women becomes SINFUL (meaning accepts the cheques), when the land holder farmer fails to get the daughter / sister to surrender her rights and how it causes animosity which lasts a life time. And that the women should continue as is the practice to take land in her marital home, which is mostly their preference he goes on to day.  And further gives advise to the farmers, that all documents related to the name in the  bank account, in the land records and the Jan Aadhar should be the same.

We would like to ask, as to who has given the Degod Tehsil Tehsildar this right to issue such a press note. What was the District Collector of Kota, doing when the Tehsildar through a press note was building public opinion against daughters taking their property right in the natal homes.

We would like to know whether the District Collector cancelled the press note and issued an apology. Was the Tehsildar suspended for this gross violation and misconduct committed by him.

We demand the

1.       Immediate cancellation of the press note and an Apology for this obnoxious and outrageous press note to all the women of Rajasthan and India.

2.       Immediate Suspension of Dilip Singh Prajapati, the Degod Tehsil Tehsildar and taking action under rule 16 CCA for dismissal from his job, due to serious indiscipline, violation of the law of the land, which is the law on property for women, The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (amended 2005) and

3.       Causing contempt of the SC order in the  case of Vinita Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma and others of August 2020.

4.       We would also like that action be taken against the Collector Kota, for not having monitored the Tehsildar, causing a setback and a cause of trauma for all women of Rajasthan and the country.

5.       It is also an opportunity to immediately ensure conferring of rights towards women towards all pending litigations by women in all courts, from the Tehsildar to the Revenue Board,

We hope that such incidents are not repeated, which will further establish your Government as being anti women and inimical towards the female gender.

Please ensure the above demands at the earliest.

With regards,

Kavita Srivastava, Sister Geeta and Pragnya Joshi (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan), Chandra Kala (Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan), Renuka Pamecha (women’s Rehabilitation Group), Suman Devathiya (Dalit Women fight)Nisha Sidhu & Minakshi (NFIW), Dr. Pawan Surana, Lad Kumari Jain, Dr. Damyanti Gupta (RUWA), Mamta Jaitly, Vividha Mahila ALakhan evam Sandharb Kendra, Bharat, Vishakha, women’s documentation and Resource Group, Sumitra Chopra and Kusum Saiwal (AIDWA), Sudha Chaudhary & Manjulata (AIPWA), Komal Srivastava, BGVS, Mewa bharti, Rajasthan Mahila Kamgaar Union, Indira Pancholi & Karuna Phillip, Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti, Usha Chaudhary, Vikalp, Tara Ahluwalia, Mahila evam Bal Chetna Samiti, Bhilwara, Anita Soni, Mahila Samuh Barmer, Norati Devi, Rajasthan unorganised Mazdoor union, Anita Mathur, Azad foundation, Aruna Roy and Sushila, MKSS, Nishat Hussein, National Muslim women’s Welfare society, Richa Audchiya (Jan Chetna Samiti) and independent activists and academics, Kanchan Mathur, Shobhita Rajagopal and Nirja Mishra, Vijay Lakshmi joshi, Shabnam Aziz, Pritam Pal, Dr. Alka Rao, Dr Malti Gupta and all others.