Explain the concept of “Stridhan.”
The word “Stridhan” has been derived from two different words i.e. “Stri” and “Dhan”. The word “Stri” means woman and the word “Dhan” means property. So, basically it means property of a woman. According to Mitakshara law school, stridhan is that property which is given by father, mother, sister, brother or other relatives to the girl as a gift because of love and affection either before the marriage or at the time of marriage.
According to Hindu law, if any property is given by husband to his wife or by in- laws to the daughter- in- law either at the time of marriage or after the marriage that is also considered as stridhan.
According to Hindu law, stridhan includes every property whether movable or immovable and it is considered as the separate property of a girl and no one has any interest in that property. If a woman dies intestate, in such a situation, that property is devolved according to section- 15 and 16 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
According to Hindu law, Stridhan is different from Dowry. Because stridhan is given to girl at the time of marriage because of love and affection. The relatives are not bound to give gift whereas dowry is not given because of love and affection. It is given by father of girl just to fulfil the unusual demand husband of his daughter. It is given by father of girl because of compulsion. That is why, dowry is different from Stridhan.
According to Hindu law, stridhan is considered as separate property of a woman and if she gives that property to her in- laws for proper and save custody, then it does not mean that they acquire any interest in that property. She can demand that property at any time and if her in- laws refuse to give that property then woman has right to get them punished under section 406 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, for criminal breach of trust.