Photo courtesy Rajesh Koiri on Pixabay.
The word Streedhan is derived from the words “Stree” meaning a woman and “Dhan” meaning asset or property. Taking together the two words, Streedhan means the property of a woman. The woman has complete rights over Streedhan and she can claim it even after separation from her husband.
Streedhan includes the entire movable and immovable property; gifts received by a woman before marriage, at the time of marriage, during childbirth, or during widowhood, and include cash, ornaments, investments, or immovable property in any form. It is the wealth received by a woman from her father, mother, brother, sister, husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, relatives, and cousins from the husband’s side and the other wealth she receives after marriage in her matrimonial home.
The right to Streedhan for a woman is protected by law. Section 14 of the Hindu succession act states that even if Streedhan is placed with her husband or in-laws they should return it when demanded by her. Section 12 of the domestic violence act states that when a woman is a victim of domestic violence, the provisions of the law can be used for the recovery of Streedhan.
Things that is included in Streedhan-
- It includes jewelry, properties, paintings, artifacts, appliances, furniture, or the things gifted to a woman. These may have been received before marriage, during the marriage, and after marriage and could be from parents, in-laws, relatives, and friends.
- All the earnings of a woman before and after marriage and her investments and savings through service, profession, or business.
- Property received by her as a share during the partition of family property.
- Property received by a woman as a consideration for any compromise.
- Property that a woman has purchased through her own Streedhan.
- Property received in lieu of maintenance.
- Property a woman has received in inheritance.
- Property received through decree or adverse possession.
Things not included in Streedhan-
- Jewelry like a ring or a gold chain and other valuables that are gifted to a husband by the parents of his wife at the time of marriage.
- The earnings of a woman spent on household can’t be claimed back.
Things a woman can do to protect her Streedhan-
- A woman should always keep a list of gifts and properties she has received before marriage, at the time of marriage, and during widowhood.
- There should be evidence of gifts received in the form of wedding pictures. In case of a failed marriage, these wedding pictures provide legal evidence that you own the jewelry.
- The bills of the gifts received must be in her name and she should be able to produce them at the time of requirement.
- The woman should have two witnesses whose statements would provide evidence for the movable gifts received during the marriage.
- A woman should record all the investments done by Streedhan.
- The woman should have a separate salary account in her name.
- A woman can request her parents to gift her income-generating assets rather than consumer items as it is easier to keep records/documentation of non-consumption items.
When you are a working woman and have been gifted property by your parents then the income you earn from the property is added to your income and you pay the tax.
If a Hindu woman dies intestate leaving her Streedhan behind then it will pass upon to her own heirs. A woman has the complete right over Streedhan whether it is movable or immovable property. Her husband or her in-laws do not have right over it.