Bridal gifts given at the time of a wedding belong to the wife and remain hers, Pakistan's Supreme Court has said in a 12-page judgement in a property case.
“They can be added to but not taken away,” said the verdict, authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. It was announced on February 25 but the full order was released on March 9.
The judgement says that the Holy Qur’an was the first scripture to establish the rights of women. A woman’s right to own and dispose of her property; her right to retain, both before and after her marriage, her income and property; her ability to do business without the permission of her father or husband. ‘Men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn,’ the Supreme Court order said while quoting Surah An-Nisa (4) verse 32.
“Her entitlement to inherit from her parents and husband is also precisely ordained in the fourth chapter of Surah An-Nisa of the Holy Qur’an.”
A woman also “does not need permission to acquire or dispose of property; what she inherits is hers and hers alone; neither her husband, father, brother or son has any entitlement to it”.
You can read the detailed verdict here.
What was the case about?
An agreement was signed between a man and a woman on August 3, 1998. The woman agreed to sell the man her house for Rs335,000. He paid Rs150,000 and she refused to give the man the house documents till she received the full amount from him. The man then filed a petition against her.
Three people identified as the woman’s husband Muhammad Ali, Allah Ditta and Muhammad Nawaz witnessed the agreement. The petitioner failed to present any witness as Allah Ditta and Nawaz went missing and he said that Muhammad Ali would give a statement in favour of his wife.
Article 17(2)(a) of the Qanun-e-Shahadat requires such agreements to be attested ‘by two men, or one man and two women, so that one may remind the other’, the court said.
The petitioner’s failure to present any witnesses led to the court dismiss the case.