Traditionally in India, women get various types of gifts from their parents during their wedding or before marriage which evidently becomes their husband’s property too after marriage. However, what do you think, do your husband or in-laws have the right over the gifts and belongings you receive during your lifetime? The answer is NO!
Ladies! that is your right and that belongs to you. These gifts and belongings you receive are known as “Streedhan”.
What is Streedhan?
The word ‘’Streedhan” has been derived from the words ‘Stri’ meaning a woman and the word ‘dhana’ which means property. Therefore by combining these two words we get ‘property of woman’ her ‘Streedhan’.
As per Hindu Law, Streedhan refers to the property received by a woman in the form of a gift from her relatives during her wedding. She has inalienable rights over such property. This may include immovable property like houses or movable property like jewelry.
A woman has an absolute right over jewelry and other assets she has received from her parents or relatives. Her husband cannot acquire an interest in her jewelry and any other assets through marriage.
What property can be obtained by a woman with absolute rights?
According to Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 property obtained by a woman from the following sources is her absolute property:
> by inheritance
> By device –through a will or a settlement
> At a partition
> In lieu of maintenance
> By gift
> By personal skill and exertion
> Purchase and prescription –with the help of her own funds
> Acquired in any other manner- property received under a decree or award, or through adverse possession
Difference between Dowry and Streedhan
Streedhan is often misunderstood as dowry but these two are different things.
Dowry is any property or valuable security given or agreed by the bride’s side to the family of the bridegroom before, during, or after marriage, by exploiting or threatening (coercion) the girl or her family whereas Streedhan is the right of every woman which is being given voluntarily to the bride.
Dowry is the ritual that is followed which adds up the baggage of every girl’s family. With the spread of awareness, this system is been reducing but still, some ounce of this system is still floating in India.
An informed woman should make a list of all the gifts and properties received before, during, and after marriage from her family, husband’s family, friends, and other connections. The woman should keep papers of all the gifts received so that in case of any unfortunate situation, you are prepared for the same.
As women, you should be aware of all the legal rights you have and feel empowered and financially fearless!!
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