Preet Kanwal
Asked August 14, 2016

property of woman

  • 1 Answer
  • 248 Views

Hi Iam undergoing separation from my husband. They are acting very smart in terms of streedhn. Last year my own mom got retited and my husband bought her a pendant of 5k. During marrried life my mil gave me her mangalsutra saying since she is a widow so now it belongs to the daughter in law. During my second wedding anniversary she gifted me a kada saying thia is ur gift and now asking back saying she had got it made for herself and gave me to wear occasionally. My entire jewellery rests with my mil aa i never had an access to the locker. At the time of first baisakhi my parents gave me diamond tops and one gold pendant during Diwali to which my mother in law has point blank refused to return. Since we are going by mutual divorce i told the lawyer representing them at during my married life i had given one diamond solitaire to my mil so if they want that pendant back they have to return that diamond solitaire ring to which my husband said he doesn't remember the amount contributed by his wife. They and there lawyer are underplaying that they have in possession my diamond tops one pendant and are hwll bent on taking back the mangalsutra and that kafa both of which were gifted to me. My parents are sayinh don't mess up the situation let them keep what they want but iam extremely disturbed. I have told that lawyer that if he doesn't being me back that ring then i will not return the mangalsutra and kada to which he got furious as he happens to know both families well but is extending unrelenting support to my husbands family. Whenever i discuss this with my parents they get very upset with me. My inlaws are retaining 2 gold articles n in turn have the audacity to ask for the mangalsutra, kadha and pendant which they gave to my mom on her retirement. That lawyer threatnened me to the extent that if you dont return that mangalsutra and kadha i will get out of this nd u file a complaint against ur inlws ro which i said im very much prepared but my parents are suggesting that iam the one who is complicating situations. Please opine

Answer 1

Default avatar
Saumya Kumar
Under Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 a woman has complete ownership and right to control her prperty which includes her stridhan. Stridhan was traditionally recognized as the gift a woman received from her father at the time of her marriage but this definition has now been expanded to a great extent and includes gifts received from relatives as well. In the present facts, it is therefore important to determine whether the different items mentioned by you can be considered as your property or your stridhan. The jewelry in the locker accessible only to your mother-in-law – Gifts mostly traditional gift items including jewelry received from your parents at the time of your wedding will be considered as stridhan ( Vionod Kumar Sethi v. State of Punjab, AIR 1982 P& H 372) Therefore if you have any proof that the jewelry in the locker was given to you by your parents during the wedding then that will be your stridhan and you have complete right to make a claim over these items ( Pratibha Rani v. Suraj Kumar, AIR 1985 SC 628). Similarly, the diamond tops and gold pendant given to you by your parents on Diwali is also your property as per Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Similarly a gift from your mother-in-law will also become your stridhan. The problem in both these situations is that there will probably be no proof that the item was gifted to you. Ideally for the Court a gift deed will be required. As indicated by you, it is evident that both the gifts were given in a casual manner and the existence of a gift deed is improbable. Therefore you will have to rely on other evidences to make your claim. For the gifts given by your parents, try to procure bills, bank statements, credit card bills to prove that the items were purchased by your parents and given to you. For the solitaire ring given to your mother-in-law, legaly you have no claim over that item. Even if you purchased it by your own money, it was gifted to your mother-in-law and is therefore no longer ypur property. If the ring was purchased by your husband even then you have absolutely no claim over the ring. Similarly, your husband's gift to your mother is no longer your husband's property and he has no claim over the same. As per the facts stated by you, it seems that the lawyer is negotiating between your family and your husband's family by asking you to return these gifts. There is no harm in his approach but you should be cautious about the fact that the jewelry given to you during your wedding and the gifts from your parents should be returned to you during the divorce. I must warn you that the process of procuring the item especially in a defensive environment as described by you will be very difficult. You will have to procure substantial and strong evidences to prove that the items were given to you as a gift by your parents which will be a tough task considering the casual manner in which the exchange have been conducted. In case you have substantial evidences to prove your point, you can appear before the Court under Section 14 of the Hindu Succession. You can also apply under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 as this situation can be considered as a economic abuse (Section 3(iv) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005). You can apply for the Court to order your husband to return the items (Under Section 19 (8) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005) or a Protection Order (Section 18 (e) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005) to stop your husband or mother-in-law from managing your stridhan. All of these complaints are possible only when you can support your claims with the help of evidence. You will have to prove the existence of the stridhan in the bank account and also prove that your husband and mother-in-law are trying to stop you from accessing it.
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