June 4, 2023

Mitter Sain Meet

Novelist and Legal Consultant


ਇਸ ਜ਼ੁਰਮ ਸਬੰਧੀ ਸੁਪਰੀਮ ਕੋਰਟ (Full Bench) ਵੱਲੋਂ ਨਿਰਧਾਰਤ ਕੀਤੇ ਗਏ ਮਹੱਤਵਪੂਰਣ ਸਿਧਾਂਤ

Name of the case: Pratibha Rani v/s Suraj Kumar & another, 1985 Cri.L.J. 817 (1) (SC – FB)

  1. ਪਤਨੀ ਆਪਣੇ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਦੀ ਸਰਵ-ਅਧਿਕਾਰੀ (Absolute) ਮਾਲਕ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ। ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਦਾ ਉਸਦੇ ਪਤੀ ਜਾਂ ਪਤੀ ਦੇ ਕਿਸੇ ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇਦਾਰ ਦੇ ਹਵਾਲੇ ਕਰ ਦੇਣ ਨਾਲ ਪਤੀ ਜਾਂ ਉਸਦਾ ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇਦਾਰ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਦਾ ਸਾਂਝਾ ਮਾਲਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਣ ਜਾਂਦਾ। ਪਤੀ ਅਤੇ ਉਸਦੇ ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇਦਾਰ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਦੇ ਕੇਵਲ ਅਮਾਨਤਦਾਰ (Trustee) ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਜਦੋਂ ਵੀ ਔਰਤ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਮੰਗਿਆ ਜਾਵੇ ਉਹ ਤੁਰੰਤ ਉਸ ਧੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਪ੍ਰਤੀਬੱਧ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਹਨ। ਜੇ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਖੁਰਦ-ਬੁਰਦ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਵੇ ਤਾਂ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਦਾ ਪਤੀ ਜਾਂ ਉਸਦੇ ਰਿਸ਼ਤੇਦਾਰ ਸਜ਼ਾ ਦੇ ਭਾਗੀਦਾਰ ਬਣ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ।

Case : Pratibha Rani v/s Suraj Kumar & another, 1985 Cri.L.J. 817 (1) (SC – FB)


Para 20. We are clearly of the opinion that the mere factum of the husband and wife living together does not entitle either of them to commit a breach of criminal law and if one does then he/she will be liable for all the consequences of such breach. Criminal law and matrimonial home are not strangers. Crimes committed in matrimonial home are as much punishable as anywhere else. In the case of stridhan property also, the title of which always remains with the wife though possession of the same may sometimes be with the husband or other members of his family, if the husband or any other member of his family commits such an offence, they will be liable to punishment for the offence of criminal breach of trust under Ss.405 and 406, I.P.C.

22. ….. It is impossible to uphold the view that once a married woman enters her matrimonial home her stridhan property undergoes a vital change so as to protect the husband from being prosecuted even if he dishonestly misappropriates the same. For instance, properties like jewellery, clothing, cash, etc. given by her parents as gifts cannot he touched by the husband except in very extreme circumstances, viz., where the husband is in imprisonment or is in serious distress. Even then the religion and the law enjoins that the husband must compensate the wife and if he cannot do so, he must pay fine to the King which means that the husband would be liable to penal action under the present law of the land.

25. ….. In fact, the wife has nothing to do with the partnership, if any, and the husband is a pure and simple custodian of the property and cannot use the same for any purpose without her consent

. ….. When the essential conditions of a partnership do not exist the mere act or factum of entrustment of stridhan would not constitute any co-ownership or legal partnership as defined under S.4 of the Partnership Act.

  1. ….. On a parity of reasoning, it is manifest that the husband, being only a custodian of the stridhan of his wife, cannot be said to be in joint possession thereof and thus acquire a joint interest in the property.”


  1. ਔਰਤ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਆਪਣੇ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਦੇ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਮੰਗੇ ਜਾਣ ਦੇ ਬਾਵਜੂਦ ਵੀ ਜੇ ਇਸਤਰੀ ਧੰਨ ਉਸਨੂੰ ਵਾਪਿਸ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਤਾਂ ਅਮਾਨਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਖਮਾਨਤ ਦਾ ਜ਼ੁਰਮ ਬਣਦਾ ਹੈ।

Case : Pratibha Rani v/s Suraj Kumar & another, 1985 Cri.L.J. 817 (1)


Para “12. ….. If, therefore, despite demands these articles were refused to be returned to the wife by the husband and his parents, it amounted to an offence of criminal breach of trust.”