Stridhan is any and all gifts that a woman voluntarily receives from her friends and relatives during the course of her lifetime. It denotes the ultimate right of a woman over her property.
All the old age textbooks and tales of Hindu customary law have mentioned the presence and importance of stridhan in the Hindu religion received by a woman before or during her marriage, during childbirth or during her widowhood. Hindu law in the Hindu succession act has also talked about stridhan and its rightful ownership by the women.
How is a stridhan acquired?
- Will or Inheritance: A Hindu person may inherit property from any male or female. Such a property can be inherited from her parents or family members. Any property inherited by a woman shall constitute her stridhan.
- Partition: Earlier, women were denied their share in case of a partition. As per Hindu laws, women too can claim their share in case of a partition. The law further states that any woman who after partition gets any share of property, it constitutes a part of her stridhan.
- Maintenance: Any payments made to a woman in lumpsum or periodic amount with respect to her maintenance is a part of her stridhan and the woman has absolute right over it. All movable or immovable properties transferred to her in lieu of maintenance too is the woman’s stridhan.
- Gifts: Any gift which is presented to a woman before or after the nuptial fire of marriage rites, during bridal procession or as a token of love from parents, siblings, husband’s family members, friends, etc.
- Personal Skill: A woman can acquire stridhan at any point in her life by personal exertion through labour job or employment, skill work or participating in artistic competitions, etc.
- Purchase or prescription: Any property purchased by a woman during her lifetime by existing stridhan or with any savings or revenue of stridhan shall constitute her stridhan.
Does a woman have legal rights over her stridhan?
The Indian courts in a number of judgements have reiterated that the ultimate ownership of stridhan is that of the woman. When living together, a woman can claim her stridhan back from her husband or his family members.
A woman has the power to sell, store or give away in the form of a gift as per her wish and Will during her lifetime or after her death. A woman’s family or husband and his family have absolutely no right over her Stridhan. A man in the case of emergency, can use his wife’s stridhan only after obtaining her assent but at the same time has a moral obligation to restore it or to its same value to the wife.
What happens to stridhan after divorce?
It is an established fact that a woman has a moral and legal right over her stridhan that no one can take away from her. Stridhan is that asset within the household over which only the woman has complete ownership.
What is this of divorce is in itself a very turbulent decision. To add upon it the burden of division of assets, creates a situation of great stress and panic within the household. Division of assets is fought upon as like a competition and both the parties try as much as they can keep for themselves and deprive the other of the assets. At this point, to protect emotional and financial well-being, a woman can claim back her stridhan from her husband and his family. Even in situations where the divorce has not been dissolved by the judicial decree, as per the Supreme Court of India the woman can always claim back her stridhan.
How can a woman protect her Stridhan?
Divorce in itself a messy process, a lot of times, husbands or their families take the possession of the woman’s stridhan under the pretext to be returned later and during the course of marriage or divorce, deny the access to the woman.
In such cases, it becomes extremely tough for a woman to prove the ownership of the stridhan as its not in her possession. Thus, it is advised to every woman to protect her stridhan or its ownership through-
By making a list of the gifts and properties that were received by her prior to or during the marriage or during childbirth from her family, husband’s family, friends, and other acquaintances.
A woman must try to collect and keep the receipts of all the properties or assets purchased from her already acquired stridhan.
A woman must maintain a separate bank account for her stridhan assets.
Evidences in the form of pictures or videos for all the gifts received prior to or during the marriage or childbirth.
How can GS Bagga & Associates help you?
Greetings! Proving ownership of stridhan in court can be a tricky aspect. In such situations, lawyers play a major role in protecting your interests. The offices of G.S. Bagga & Associates have been experienced in family law and matrimonial issues for over 7 years now. If you’ve found the above information satisfying, you can get in touch with us and can book a free consultation. We would love to support you with our legal expertise in the matter. Feel free to contact us, anytime.