The Law Regarding Bridal Gifts and Dowry Articles in Pakistan

To understand laws relating to dowry articles and bridal gifts, one must have knowledge about the definitions of both; there are following laws/Acts that elaborate the law and rules regarding the dowry articles and Bridal Gifts, offered to the Bride by the husband or the family of the husband. There is “DOWRY AND BRIDAL GIFTS (RESTRICTION) ACT, 1976” & “DOWRY AND BRIDAL GIFTS (RESTRICTION) Rules 1976.


Dowry means any property given before, at or after the marriage, either directly or indirectly, to the bride by her parents in connection with the marriage, but it does not include property which the bride may inherit under the laws of inheritance and succession applicable to her.


Bridal gift means any property given as a gift before, at or after the marriage either directly or indirectly, by the bridegroom or his parents to the bride in connection with the marriage but does not include “MEHR”.

This law comes into consideration at the point of conflict that arises between the bride and the Groom whether regarding the dowry, dowry articles or bridal gifts. Usually in Pakistan when a marriage takes place it has become a custom that parents of a girl/bride give dowry articles to their daughter/s for their personal use as a token of love. And on the other side many gifts in the form of expensive ornaments like Gold and Diamond and clothing are given to the bride by her husband and her husband’s family. Usually when a dispute arises between the bride and the Groom and the question of separation arises then most of the time bridal gifts given to the bride are asked to return back while it is a set precedent that the gifts given to bride are her own property and are not to return back even if husband and wife get apart. There is a finding of Supreme Court regarding bridal gifts;

“That the bridal gifts given at the time of marriage are the wife’s property, and remains hers. These gifts can be added to but not taken away, according to the Sharia law.”

While on the other hand dowry articles given by the parents of a girl are returnable as those were given to their daughter’s use and if she gets apart from her husband she is able to get back dowry articles from husband through court after filing a family suit but husband cannot claim gifts, given to wife to give those back to him after separation as it is cleared by the findings of Supreme Court that it shall remain with the wife and cannot be taken back.

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