Mary Roy

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Mary Roy is an Indian educator and women's rights activist, most well known for winning a lawsuit in 1986, against the inheritance legislation of her Keralite Syrian Christian community in the Supreme Court. The judgement ensured equal rights for Syrian Christian women, with their male siblings in their ancestral property.[1][2] Till then, the Syrian Christian community followed the provisions of the Travancore Succession Act of 1916, while elsewhere in India the same community followed the Indian Succession Act of 1925. [3]

Mary Roy received a share of her father's assets as dowry. The custom of giving daughters a share of the assets as dowry is a common practice in the Indian state of Kerala. It aims to compensate daughters, as the inheritance laws favor the sons. Mary Roy, after receiving her share of the property in the form of dowry, sued her brothers[clarification needed] after her father's death. This was the case that made its way through the Indian court system and which she won.

Roy is the founder-director of Pallikoodam school (formerly Corpus Christi High School) at Kalathilpady, a suburb of Kottayam town in the state of Kerala. Her daughter is the Man Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy.


  1. ^ George Iype. "'Ammu may have some similarities to me, but she is not Mary Roy'". rediff. Retrieved May 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ George Jacob (May 29, 2006). "Bank seeks possession of property in Mary Roy case". The Hindu. Retrieved May 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Final decree in Mary Roy case executed". Retrieved October 21, 2010. 

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