A woman has an inalienable right to ‘streedhan’ even if she is separated from her husband, the Supreme Court has ruled.
Streedhan is the property that a Hindu woman obtains prior to and during the time of her marriage. It is different from 'dowry' because the gifts are voluntary and not coercive in nature.
The apex court quashed a Tripura high court ruling which had held that a woman cannot claim her ‘streedhan’ after separation and ruled out criminal proceedings against the husband and in-laws.
“The findings recorded by the courts and concurred by HC that the parties having been judicially separated, the wife has ceased to be an aggrieved person is wholly unsustainable. We are of the considered opinion that as long as the status of the aggrieved person remains and streedhan remains in the custody of the husband, the wife can always put forth her claim under Section 12 of the Act. We are disposed to think so as the status between the parties is not severed because of the decree of dissolution of marriage," the Times of India quotes the bench as saying.