Rights of a Wife in India | #Must Know
The article 'Rights of a Wife in India' is a detailed analysis of the plethora of privileges and rights to which a married woman is entitled in India.
The article 'Rights of a Wife in India' is a detailed analysis of the many privileges and rights a married woman is entitled to in India. In India, marriage doesn't happen only between two people but also between their families. Marriage, referred to as a social institution, is an affirmance of civilized social order where two people can enter into wedlock.
Once a woman is married, she is supposed to leave her in-laws' house when it's her final rites. This line is usually used in daily soaps, advertisements, dramas, and movies to represent the unwavering loyalty and love of an Indian woman towards her husband and in-laws.
One of the pillars of our society is marriage. However, there are expectations and obligations for each gender when they get married. This entails women assuming charge of the domestic sphere and attending to the needs of the family. Most Indian women enter marriages unaware that marriages can also be unhappy or challenging because they have been socialized to believe in these concepts and the myth of happily ever after.
Every woman should be aware of the unique rules and rights of married women. So, we provide a thorough overview of the rules and rights a wife is entitled to in India.
Rights of a Wife
The following material provides a gist of all the rights that a married woman can practice in order to live a life with appropriate dignity. Let us have a brief understanding of the various rights that a wife in India is entitled to:
1. Right to Reside in Marital Home
In addition, a married woman has the right to reside in a marital house. A woman has the right to live there whether the house is owned by the husband or in-laws or is rented to her. Even though domestic abuse cases are still pending, the right to the marital residence at the time of separation cannot be taken away. While examining the criteria of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, which protects women's legal rights against domestic violence, the Supreme Court provided the same justification.
2. Right to Streedhan
When a Hindu woman gets married, her valuables are referred to as her streedhan. It differs from the Dowry since it's a voluntary gift made to the wife before or after marriage. Women will have exclusive legal authority over their streedhan, according to the courts, even if the husband has possession of her streedhan.
3. Right to Maintenance by Husband
When a husband provides his wife with money while they are married, it is referred to as maintenance. According to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and the CrPC of 1973, a woman who is financially dependent on her husband for support can ask for maintenance till she marries a new partner after her divorce. In India, divorced women have the legal right to alimony, which can be paid in annual payments, lump sums, full payments, or monthly instalments as determined by the court. It should be mentioned that maintenance is a necessity regardless of gender. In other words, it is independent of a particular gender. When a husband is reliant on his wife, the woman may sometimes provide for his maintenance. Learn more about divorced women's maintenance rights.
4. Right to Live with Dignity and Respect
A married woman has the right to live in the same manner as her husband and in-laws, with dignity and honour. She also has the freedom to live without suffering any form of torture. The Indian Constitution's Article 21 guarantees women the right to live in dignity. The right to live in dignity and respect, however, may mean different things to different people. The right to live in dignity is protected by Indian legislation, including the laws protecting the rights of married women and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Notwithstanding the fact that everyone's notion of dignity is different.
5. Right to receive equal pay
As per the provisions provided under the Equal Remuneration Act, working women can never be discriminated against on the basis of sex for the payment of their salary or wages.
6. Right to Succession in Parental Property
Underneath the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, the Supreme Court has often supported a married daughter's entitlement to her parent's property. The phrase "Once a daughter, always a daughter" was also batted by the court in the case of Savita Samvedi (Ms) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors., 1996 (2) SCC 380. A daughter was not recognized as a co-heir to inherit family property under Hindu succession laws prior to 2005. The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was amended in 2005, giving married and unmarried girls the same rights as sons.
7. Rights Against Violence
In Indian households, domestic violence is a problem that was prevalent but even worsened during the COVID-19 lockdown. A married woman in India is entitled to protection rights under Indian law. Domestic violence advocates must be consulted right away in cases of marital violence. Cruelty by a husband or relatives is also punished under the Indian Penal Code and grounds for divorce or other legal remedies based on violence and cruelty.
8. Right over her own body
Women have absolute ownership over their own bodies. She has the right to abortion and to her own health. Although it should be highlighted that marriage includes conjugal rights, the long-debated issue of marital rape remains unclear. But a woman's right to the body also includes the freedom to forbid having unnatural sexual relations with her partner.
9. Right to work in a safe environment
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 has been enacted with the objective of protecting women from any sexual harassment in the workplace.
10. Right against being stalked
Section 354 of IPC says,
"(1) Any man who--
(i) follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
(ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking:
Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that--
(i) it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
(ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
(iii) in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.]"
These are some of the rights from amongst the plethora of rights guaranteed by women in India once they get married. It is important to note that while there remains to be an ample number of legislative protections, there must be adequate implementation mechanisms for these rights so that women are aware of them and can comfortably make their use as and when they require them without any hesitation.
 SJ. Michael, A Study of Women Rights In India, Available Here
 Rhea Tewary, Women's Rights Under Family Law in India, Available Here
 Ridhi Khurana, Laws For Married Women’s Rights In India, Available Here
 6 Rights of Wives in India and Why It Is Important to Know About Them, Available Here
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