Stridhan Property is Wife’s Absolute Property

Stridhan is wife’s absolute property

Stridhan property is essentially what is gifted to a woman before marriage, at the time of marriage or at the time of bidding of farewell or thereafter. It is an “absolute property” of a woman, in which the husband has no control over it. It does not become a joint property of the wife and the husband but he can use it in times of distress and he has a “moral obligation” to restore it or its value to his wife, says the Supreme Court (SC) in Maya Gopinath v Anoop S B [2024 INSC 334].

Wife seeks return of ornaments and the amount paid

In this case, the wife instituted civil proceedings against her then husband for return of her money equivalent to 89 sovereigns of gold, gifted to her by her family, and a sum of Rs. 2,00,000/- her father paid to her husband.

She argued that on their wedding night, her husband took all the jewellery and entrusted the same to his mother for safekeeping. However, this was misappropriated for clearing prior liabilities. Later, the parties drifted apart, and a petition for dissolution of marriage was filed. Along with this, the appellant had also filed another petition for the recovery of the value of the jewellery and the amount mentioned earlier.

Family court allowed the petition but HC reversed

The family Court had allowed her petition but it was reversed by the High Court, and the wife approached the SC.

SC assessed the facts about the ornaments and amount

The respondents admitted that the appellant had brought stridhan with her after the marriage and claimed that on the wedding night, the appellant placed her jewellery in her almirah instead of entrusting the same to his mother.

But the SC took a view that it is a more plausible that a newly married woman gives jewellery for safekeeping rather than distrusting her husband and keeping it in her own locker.

SC analysed as a person of ordinary prudence

SC took this view as it is unreasonable for a person of ordinary prudence to expect that a woman, who is freshly married and is intending to live in the same house with her husband, to keep her personal belongings like jewellery, etc. under her own lock and key, thus, showing a spirit of distrust to the husband right after the moment she gets married.

On the contrary, the circumstance that the husband had volunteered to take custody of the jewellery for safekeeping with his mother appears to be more plausible than the rival version, considering the probabilities that are associated with similar such situations.

SC examined the photos of the wife to check her claims

The SC had perused the photo of the appellant’s wedding, where she had worn multiple pieces of jewellery and noted that respondents did not question the nature, quality, and valuation of the gold jewellery.

Therefore, the SC found some strength in the wife’s claim that she wore gold jewellery that possibly weighed 89 sovereigns.

SC granted 25 lakh to be paid with 6 months

The SC marked the value of 89 sovereigns of gold at Rs 8,90,000/-, and granted the relief of Rs 25,00,000/- to the appellant in the light of increase in the value and living expenses, to be paid within six months.


  1. Maya Gopinath v Anoop S B [2024 INSC 334]