For many generations, women were viewed as the inferior gender; they were viewed as weak, and they were viewed as having no other function in the world other than childbirth. The battle between women and society has a brutal, long history, and it is still going strong now.
Though there is still a long way to go, the enactment of the Hindu Marriage Act, of 1995, was a significant step toward achieving women’s equality and rights.
This act gives Hindu women many basic and necessary rights when they get married to deal with matrimonial disputes.
The act’s primary objective was to update and codify the law governing marriage between Hindus and others. The law became uniform for all Hindu groups as a result of this enactment. It incorporates monogamy and forbids a Hindu from engaging in a married engagement with more than one individual.
Following are some of the legal rights of a wife over husband in a Hindu Marriage Act:-
Right To Streedhan:
While dowry is a Hindu custom of providing the man and his family with Money and goods, voluntarily or otherwise, a streedhan is the act of gifting the woman money and goods by her family, friends, and relatives voluntarily before or after marriage. It can be any sort of moveable or immovable property gift given throughout her life. The assets given as a streedhan are the wife’s property and only hers even if it’s placed under the custody of her husband or in-laws.
She is the sole owner of her streedhan under the Hindu marriage act, section 27, 1995.
Right To A Committed Relationship:
The husband in the marriage is bound to not marry or have any sort of affairs with any other person until he is legally divorced. If he is involved in an extramarital affair then he will be charged under section 497 of IPC for adultery. If the wife wishes, then on the grounds of her husband being in an extramarital affair, she has the right to file for a divorce under hindu marriage act. Adultery usually does not affect the distribution of assets or child custody during a divorce but it does have an impact in the settlement negotiations.
Right To Residence:
No matter if it is an ancestral home, a joint family home, a self-acquired property, or a rented home, a wife has the unalienable right to live in the matrimonial home where her husband stays. No one can force a women to leave her matrimonial house as there are legal rights of wife over husband’s property. Protection of women from domestic violence act, enforced in 2005, gives a women the right to reside in a shared house even in the absence of any form of domestic violence, which means that she cannot be evicted or thrown out from a shared household.
She can live in her matrimonial house in case of her spouse’s death or until she gets a proper place to live after a divorce.
Right To Maintenance:
A Hindu wife has the right to seek support from her husband under section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, upholding her divorce rights in the event that he is guilty of cruelty, desertion, polygamy, or has a venereal illness. It is the legal obligation of the husband to support her wife financially before or after a divorce. The permanent maintenance and alimony provisions of this act are found in section 25.
She can take benefits of this right as long as she stays unmarried or unable to support herself.
- Right to child maintenance: The husband and wife are both obligated to provide for their minor children, however if the wife finds herself unable or incapable, the husband must provide her with financial support for their children.
In case both partners are monetarily incapacitated, they can take support from their parents to look after the child. Additionally, a minor child also has the right to seek partition in ancestral property.
Right To Life With Dignity And Respect:
The right to dignity and respect is one of the most fundamental and significant rights a wife has in a marriage. This indicates that the wife has a legal right to adopt her husband’s and her in-laws’ lifestyles. She has the legal right to exist without being subjected to physical or mental abuse, and if she has, she has the legal right to contact a marriage lawyer, speak about it, and request a divorce on that ground. After marriage, she has the right to remain independent. According to the supreme court, a daughter-in-law should be welcomed into her married home and treated with warmth, respect, dignity, and affection.
Right To Claim Child Custody:
When it comes to requesting custody of her child, a woman has the absolute right, particularly if the child is under five years old. If she leaves the matrimonial home without a court order, she may also take her child with her. Despite granting equal custody rights, a mother might get custody of her kid in the case of a contested residence. At the age of 9 or above, the child’s wish in the matter is considered.
The mother is not given custody if she’s found to be ill-treated and neglecting the child’s needs and welfare by the court.
Right To Report Domestic Violence:
If a woman experiences domestic violence, including acts of physical, mental, sexual, economic, and other mistreatment, she may file a complaint against her spouse and family under the Domestic Violence Act, of 2005.
- Domestic Violence Act, 2005: This law was passed by the legislature to safeguard wives and other women from abuse by their husbands or other family members. This Act offers the woman the ability to submit a petition against her husband or his family members if her rights are violated or if she suffers any harm, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional.
Right To Parental Property
Every daughter, married or not, has the right to inherit her father’s property upon his passing, per an amendment to the Hindu Succession Act made in 2005. Additionally, they are a part owner of the mother’s property.
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