Husband’s family cannot retain stridhana in case of marriage annulment: HC

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Marriage annulment can only mean all items that the wife brought to the matrimonial home in the form of s tridhana can be retained by the husband’s family, the Karnataka High Court said.

Judge M. Nagaprasanna made the remarks while refusing to quash a criminal case brought against a man and his parents based on a complaint by his ex-wife for not returning ₹9 lakh which was given Like tridhana by his parents during the marriage 24 years ago. The litigants belong to the Bunt community.

It was pointed out on behalf of the petitioners that the marriage was declared annulled on a decree passed by the Bombay High Court in 2014 and it was agreed in that degree that the annulment was upon the final payment of ₹4 lakh as maintenance eating. They had also claimed that she could not claim any payment other than the maintenance awarded by the court.

However, Judge Nagaprasanna pointed out that the payment of ₹4 lakh happened between the parties only for the annulment of the marriage and at no time the issue of Stridhana was part of a marriage annulment proceeding.

“No court has determined that the amount of cancellation would include ₹9 lakh of s tridhana as this was never the claim in the divorce proceedings between the parties,” the court observed.

Referring to the judgments of various High Courts and the Supreme Court, the judge pointed out that the articles which form Stridhana cannot be kept by family or husband as they are in temporary possession and must be returned, and failure to return would result in breach of trust offense under Section 405 of the Indian Penal Code.

As a result of this order, the man and his parents now face trial in the criminal criminal breach of trust criminal proceedings for failing to make the undisputed fact that ₹9 lakh was received as s tridhana.

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