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Legal » Matrimonial-laws » Stridhan-030516
 
STRIDHAN - Financial independence for women

The word ''Stridhan '' is, as you know, derived from the words stri meaning woman and dhana meaning property. Essentially a word and concept, which comes down centuries from the Hindu smritis but has today, permeated all forms of marriages in all castes and religions.

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What is stridhan?
According to the age old smritis and all old schools of Hindu law such as Dayabhaga, Mitakshara etc. the following was Stridhan in the hands of a woman be it a maiden, married woman or widow.
  1. Gifts made to a woman before the nuptial fire.
  2. Gifts made to a woman at the bridal procession
  3. Gifts made in token of love by father-in-law, mother-in-law
  4. Gifts made by father
  5. Gifts made by mother
  6. Gifts made by brother

This was not an exhaustive list so gifts made after marriage by a woman's husband's relations or parent's relations and gifts from sons and relations got added to the list as so did many more as can be seen here.

What else is included?
Whether a particular kind of property acquired by a woman was Stridhan or not depended on the source from which the property was acquired and her status at the time of acquisition whether she acquired it during her maidenhood, subsistence of marriage or widowhood.

  • Gifts and bequests from a woman's relations during maidenhood, subsistence of marriage or widowhood is all Stridhan.
  • Gifts and bequests from strangers during maidenhood, subsistence of marriage or widowhood is all Stridhan.
  • In effecting Partition if as an absolute gift or interest a share is given to a woman whether during her maidenhood, marriage or widowhood the same amounts to her stridhan.
Inherited property
  • Property inherited by a woman becomes her stridhan.
  • Property acquired by a woman by mechanical arts or by her own exertions during maidenhood, subsistence of marriage and during widowhood is Stridhan.
  • Property obtained by a woman by compromise or family arrangement where there is no presumption of her taking only a life interest, becomes her Stridhan.
  • Property obtained by a woman by adverse possession during maidenhood, subsistence of marriage and during widowhood is Stridhan.
  • Property purchased with Stridhan is a woman's Stridhan.

Rights of a woman over her Stridhan.
The woman has an absolute, exclusive dominion over all her Stridhan including movable and immovable property and has the power to sell, alienate or give it away as she pleases both during her lifetime and thereafter. Her husband and / or his family members have no rights over a woman's Stridhan.

It is usually practical and preferable that any girl especially educated girls of today maintain a list of their Stridhan as also become capable of looking after their own Stridhan in terms of its security such as opening a bank locker in their single names for the purposes of storing jewellery and instruments of money, property etc. or keeping it under their lock and key.

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