1.Right to Streedhan
Streedhan refers to the gifts that a woman receives during pre-marriage or marriage ceremonies and during childbirth. It includes any movable, immovable property, gifts, money etc.
The basic idea behind gifting Streedhan to the married woman is to give her financial protection post marriage. Inalienable rights have been granted to a married woman over Streedhan and this right is not lost even after separation from her husband.
- How is Streedhan protected by Statute?
- Domestic Violence:
Denial of Streedhan to a married woman amounts to economic abuse under section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and in such a case the husband and in-laws are liable to be punished.
- Criminal Breach of Trust:When the wife entrusts her Streedhan property to her husband or any other member of the family and the husband or such other member of the family dishonestly misappropriates it, he/she commits criminal breach of trust under Section 405 of Indian Penal Code,1860.
- Hindu Succession: A Hindu woman’s right to Streedhan is protected under section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 making her an absolute owner of such property. Even if it is placed in the custody of her husband or her in-laws, they are bound to return the same if and when demanded by her as they are deemed trustees of the Streedhan.
2.Right to a committed relationship
A marriage cannot last long and strong without commitment from both the partners equally. Unless a legal divorce is finalised, a married woman has the right to have a committed relationship which means that her husband cannot have illicit relationship or an extra-marital affair with another woman. However, if there is a relationship apart from the marriage that the husband beholds with any another woman, the wife can charge her husband of adultery, which is also a ground for divorce under section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
3.Right to marital home
There is a cliché saying “once married, a woman should only leave her in-laws’ house when she is taken for her final rites”.
The household that a woman shares with her husband is called matrimonial home or marital house. It could be owned by the husband or his parents, a rented property or officially provided to him. Irrespective of whether the marital home is an ancestral one or a joint family house, a daughter-in-law is entitled to reside in it whether she owns it or not.
The Supreme Court, in a judgment involving abetment of suicide of a married woman by her husband, has quoted that “Daughter-in-law should be treated as a family member and not a housemaid, and she cannot be thrown out of her matrimonial home at any time”.
4.Right to parental property
With the change in time, the laws have also changed and now the daughters are equal with their male siblings even after marriage.
- Inheritance: The recent amendments introduced in the Hindu Succession Act in 2005, allow every daughter, whether married or unmarried, to inherit the property of her father after his death. Not only this, the daughters also have a share in the mother’s property.
Further, in case the father does not leave a will before his death, the daughters have the right to equally inherit the father’s property as the sons. That means if your father is alive or died after 2005, you can knock the doors of the court and seek legal help to have your share of the father’s property.
Daughters had always been excluded from being a coparcener until the amendments to the succession laws in 2005. Now women of the family are also coparceners and have the right to equally inherit a share in the undivided property since birth. They have the same rights and liabilities as a son.