​Women, know your rights before getting married: Rights of daughters-in-law in India

हिंदी में पढ़ें
August 15, 2022
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty

From the right to residence to the right to maintenance, daughters-in-law have various rights, however, the same is unknown to most!
Women face all sorts of problems in India, beginning with female infanticide, child abuse to dowry deaths as well as marital rapes. The major issue being illiteracy leaves the women unknown of their legal rights resulting in immense emotional and physical pain. Most of all, married women or daughters-in-law are the worst hit considering not much has been said about the legal rights that they are entitled to.

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The laws in India may not be specific to address the issues of daughters-in-law; however, they do cover up for most of them. The Constitution of India, being one of the very few documents where gender equality has been taken care of so well, regards daughters-in-law to be at par in the race.

The Supreme Court, in a judgment involving the abetment of suicide of a married woman by her husband, has quoted that “Daughter-in-law should be treated as a family member and not a housemaid, and she cannot be thrown out of her matrimonial home at any time". The Court further added, “Respect of a bride in her matrimonial home glorifies the solemnity and sanctity of marriage, reflects the sensitivity of a civilized society, and eventually epitomizes her aspirations dreamt of in nuptial bliss. But the manner in which sometimes the bride is treated in many a home by the husband, in-law and the relatives creates a feeling of emotional numbness in society."

Here are the important rights every daughter-in-law or a married woman should know:

Consult: Top Family Lawyers in India

Right to Streedhan

As per Hindu law, Streedhan refers to whatever a woman receives (including all movable, immovable property, gifts, etc.) during pre-marriage/marriage ceremonies (e.g. godh bharai, baraat, mooh dikhai) and during childbirth.
The ownership rights to Streedhan belong to the wife, even if it is placed in the custody of her husband or her in-laws. In case the mother-in-law possesses her daughter-in-law’s Streedhan and she dies without leaving a will, the daughter-in-law has a legal right on it, not the son or any other family member.
A woman has inalienable rights over Streedhan and she can claim them even after separation from her husband. A married woman does not lose her legal right to Streedhan due to mere separation from the husband. In case, the Streedhan is denied to a married woman, it would amount to domestic violence making the husband and in-laws liable to face criminal prosecution.

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Right to live with dignity and self-respect

Not only does a married woman have the right to live her life with dignity and to have the same lifestyle that her husband has but also has the right to be free of mental and physical torture.
Not many know that the Domestic Violence Act allows a married woman the option to make the husband execute a "bond to keep the peace", or a "bond of good behavior" through the Executive, a Magistrate who can order the husband and the in-laws to put a stop to domestic violence apart from the right to seek divorce on the basis of domestic violence by the husband or any of his family members. The husband can also be asked to deposit securities in the form of money or property that will be sacrificed if he continues to act violently. 


Right to a committed relationship

A married woman has the right to have a committed relationship meaning that her husband cannot be in a relationship with another woman unless a legal divorce is finalized. In addition, if the husband is in a relationship with another woman, a married woman can charge her husband of adultery, which also becomes a ground for divorce.

Read more on adultery and divorce laws here.


Right to the marital home

The household that a woman shares with her husband; whether it is rented, officially provided, or owned by the husband or his relative is called the marital home or the matrimonial home.
The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act grants a Hindu wife the right to reside in her matrimonial home even if she does not own it, irrespective of whether it is an ancestral house, a joint family house, a self-acquired house, or a rented house.
From time to time, courts have ruled that a woman only has a right to residence in a marital home as long as the matrimonial relationship between her and her husband remains intact. Further, the Supreme Court has ruled that a married woman has no special right over the self-acquired property of the in-laws against their consent, as this property cannot be treated as a shared property.

Consult:  Top Family Lawyers in India

Right to maintenance

A wife is entitled to claim decent living standards & basic comforts of life by her husband as per his living standards. The same is applicable for children born out of the wedlock.
Even if the relationship between husband and wife gets sour, the husband has not stripped off his duty of providing basic maintenance to his wife and children, where maintenance includes provision for food, clothing, residence, education and medical attendance/treatment, and in the case of an unmarried daughter also the reasonable expenses of an incident to her marriage.
Read more on the maintenance rights of married women here.


Right to parental property

The changes made in the Hindu Succession Act allow every daughter, whether married or unmarried, to inherit the property of her father after his death. In addition, even if there is no Will left by the father, daughters have equal right of inheritance as sons to their father's property. Daughters also have a share in the mother's property.
Earlier daughters were excluded from being a coparcener. A coparcenary comprises the eldest member and three generations of a family. With the advent of the amendment, now women of the family can also be a coparcener.
Further, the Supreme Court has observed that a father is legally entitled to nominate the married daughter to own his cooperative society flat after his death, in exclusion of other family members. The right of others on account of inheritance or succession is subservient.

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Though the above-mentioned rights are entitled to a daughter-in-law, a lot of issues are still not being addressed legally in India. In hope of a better future for our daughters-in-law, we are spreading the knowledge we have to reach out to the maximum!  

Why do you Need a Lawyer?

Women's rights and laws in India can be confusing. In order to get clarity, you can approach a family lawyer. If you have been wronged by someone regarding your rights or property, you can seek legal remedies. A good  family lawyer will help you in your legal proceedings at every step of the way. A lawyer will help and guide you in the right direction after understanding the specific facts and circumstances of your case. He/She will draft the required suit/documents/legal notices, will devise the best method you need to undertake in order to get justice, and will also represent you in the courts if need be. Thus, hiring a family lawyer will help you in more ways than one. You can also use LawRato's  Ask a Free Question  service to get free advice on your legal issue from expert lawyers.


These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.

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Comments by Users

Does a married girl need to seek permissions From her inlaws to visit her parents?

Reply by LawRato
No, you do not need permission from anyone to meet your parents after your wedding, let alone your in-laws. No one can stop you from meeting your parents. If you are being restrained forcefully in any manner, you can consult a lawyer who would advise you after understanding the facts and circumstances of your case in detail.

Is it possible to file a divorce while the daughter in law is still living with the husband and in-laws? What all laws/charges applies to a daughter-in-law who runs away with her child

Reply by LawRato
Yes, it is possible for a daughter-in-law to file for divorce from her husband while still living with him and her in-laws. She does not necessarily need to move out of the shared household to initiate divorce proceedings. Under the Hindu Marriage Act, a spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty, adultery, desertion, conversion, mental disorder, or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To file for divorce, you will need to prepare a petition outlining the grounds for divorce and the relief you are seeking from the court. The petition will need to be filed in the appropriate family court, which has jurisdiction over the matter.

If she feels that her safety is at risk or if she is facing domestic violence, she may also seek legal protection under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. The Act provides for a range of civil remedies, including protection orders, residence orders, and monetary relief, to protect women from domestic violence.

It is important to note that there may be certain circumstances where a daughter-in-law may have valid reasons to leave her husband's home with her child, such as in cases of domestic violence or marital discord. In such cases, the daughter-in-law may seek legal remedies such as divorce, maintenance, or custody of the child under relevant laws such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.

What can b done if the couple is legally married bt the in laws r still against their marriage and do not allow them to live together.

Reply by LawRato
You have every right to live together, if your marriage is legally solemnised. The in-laws have no right to separate you. You can hire a lawyer and get the correct advice after he/she understands your case - the facts and circumstances involved.

You can hire a family lawyer by clicking on the link below:

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Sunanda Roy
Is there any law that my husband parents are not agree with our legal marriage and even not allowed to enter in there house?

Reply by LawRato
A woman and her husband has complete right to stay in their matrimonial house even if the house is owned by the husband's parents. Therefore, as long as the marriage is intact, a woman has every right to the marital house even if the in-laws do not agree with the marriage. For a sound legal advise, it is recommended that you consult a family lawyer for your query.

For How many days married women can stay at her parents many days she's permitted according to law

Reply by LawRato
There isn't a fixed time period for which a woman is allowed to stay at her parents' house after marriage according to the law. However, if the woman refuses to return, the other party, i.e., the in-laws, can file a petition for the restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

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User Reviews

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how to file a divorce case?

Neetu on Aug 22, 2023

good article about women's rights

Khushboo on Aug 12, 2023

how to file a case for maintenance against husband?

Saurabh on Sep 16, 2023

need a lawyer for divorce. Please refer

Swapnil on Aug 10, 2023

please explain more about streedhan

Mayur on Aug 22, 2023

very helpful

Subhash on Aug 06, 2023

very well written

Anu on Aug 15, 2023

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Sonali on Sep 10, 2023

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Sudhakar on Aug 18, 2023

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Meenakshi on Aug 06, 2023

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Renu on Aug 31, 2023

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Mahesh on Sep 01, 2023

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Rajiv on Sep 17, 2023