The concept of stridhan was recognized in Hindu law from the earlier times itself, but at that time they do not have full ownership over the property. After the enactment of Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the properties belong to a Hindu female is considered as an absolute property of her and she have full right over it.
Stridhan is an absolute property which a woman receives during her lifetime. It is a property meant for her sustenance and maintenance. Property includes everything held by her. From the ancient times itself, the women’s right to property was very limited but the husbands have major power on all the properties and even in stridhan.
Types of Women’s Property.
The property of a Hindu women is divided into two types:
Stridhan – In Stridhan, the women have absolute power over the property. She can enjoy it without any restrictions.
Women’s Estate – In Women’s Estate, the women have limited power over the property. She can enjoy it during her life but after death it will not pass to the heirs.
However under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, all property in the possession of a Hindu female either before or after the commencement of the Act will have absolute control and power to it. Thus it have dispensed the difference between stridhan and women’s property
Sources of Stridhan There are different sources for Stridhan. According to ancient Hindu law.
What has given before the nupital fire.
What was given at the bridal procession.
What was given in token to love.
What was received from a brother,
What was received from mother, or a father
These 5 forms were considered as a women’s property. There were lot of interpretations given to stridhan by different commentaries. In modern Hindu law, any property held by a women as stridhana before or after the commencement of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 comes under as property in Section 14 of the Act.
Difference between Dowry and Stridhan Dowry means any property or valuable security given on demand by the bridegroom’s in-laws or his father while the Stridhan is given voluntarily and not on any demand. In some parts of the country the custom of dowry was existed but as the time changed it became a nuisance to the society and it was abolished. The giving or taking of dowry is prohibited in India by the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
Rights of Women over Stridhan.
Stridhan implied absolute ownership of property for women. She had full rights over property when she is a maiden or a widow. But there are certain restrictions made on women on the disposal of such property. After marriage the stridhan was classified into two heads Saudayaka and Non – Saudayaka. Saudayaka refers to gifts of love and affection given by relatives to the woman and over which she has complete right of alienation. Non – Saudayaka refers to those gifts over which the woman has no rights of alienation without the consent of her husband.