Legal Rights Of A Wife

Marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman which is recognized by law and by which they become husband and wife. It’s a type of social union between two individuals that establish a certain type of rights and obligation between them, their children and their respective in-laws.

The Constitution has provided many rights to the wife. Some of the key rights are:

  • Right to Streedhan:
    Streedhan is the property which a woman obtains at the time of her marriage, it is different from the Dowry in a way that it is voluntarily gifts given to the wife before or after her marriage and there is no element of coercion. The Courts have clearly said that women will have absolute rights over their streedhan even if it is placed in the custody of her husband or in-laws. The case of Pratibha Rani vs. Suraj Kumar1 also discussed.
  • Right to residence: A wife has the absolute right to reside in a matrimonial household where his husband resides, irrespective of whether it is an ancestral house, a joint family home, a self-acquired home or a rental house.
  • Right to a committed relationship: A Hindu male is bound not to marry any other girl or have an affair with anyone else unless he is legally divorced. In case if the husband having a relationship with any other woman then he will be charged of adultery under section 497 of IPC. His wife has the right to file divorce on the ground of having an extra-marital relationship with any other woman.
  • Right to maintenance by husband: Under section 18 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 a Hindu wife is entitled to claim maintenance from her husband in case if he is guilty of cruelty, desertion, polygamy or has a venereal disease, thereby enforcing her rights in divorce. Under section 25 of this act provides for permanent Alimony and Maintenance. This section allows any court which has jurisdiction under this Act may pass an order upon receiving an application from the aggrieved spouse directing the respondent to pay the applicant for her support and maintenance.
  • Right to live with dignity and self-respect: A wife has the right to live her life with dignity and to have the same lifestyle that of her husband and in-laws have. She also has right to live free from any mental or physical torture.
  • Right to child maintenance: Husband and wife must provide for their minor child. If the wife is incapable of earning, then the husband must provide her financial support.

1 AIR 1985 SC 628

  • Domestic Violence Act, 2005: This Act enacted by the parliament to protect the wife or women from domestic violence by her husband or relatives of her husband. This Act gives the right to the wife to file a petition against her husband or relatives of the husband in case of violation of her rights or if any harm is done to her whether physical, mental or emotional.

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