Aaj English TV

Tuesday, July 23, 2024  
17 Muharram 1446  

India’s SC rules divorced Muslim women can seek maintenance from ex-husbands

Court dismisses man's petition challenging maintenance order for divorced wife
Representational image. Photo via Reuters
Representational image. Photo via Reuters

The Supreme Court in India ruled on Wednesday that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to maintenance from her former husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

Muslim women in India often fail to claim financial support from their former husbands after divorce.

The court dismissed a petition filed by the man challenging the direction to pay interim maintenance to his divorced wife under Section 125 CrPC.

The court also stated that if the woman gets divorced during the pendency of the application, she can seek recourse under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 2019, which provides a remedy in addition to the one under Section 125 CrPC.

Importantly, the court ruled that the Muslim Women Act 1986 would not prevail over the secular law of Section 125 CrPC. This means a divorced Muslim woman can seek maintenance under the general criminal procedure law, rather than being limited to the provisions of the 1986 Muslim Women’s Act.

“We are dismissing the criminal appeal with the conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all women and not just married women,” Justice Nagarathna stated.

The Supreme Court has clarified that the law for seeking maintenance under CrPC Section is valid for all women, not just married women.

In Wednesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court bench emphasized that an Indian married man must be conscious of his responsibility to support his wife, especially if she is not financially independent. The court acknowledged the efforts of Indian men who fulfill this duty on their own.

The case pertained to a petition by a Muslim man challenging the Telangana High Court’s order directing him to pay Rs 10,000 per month in interim maintenance to his former wife. Initially, a Family Court had ordered him to pay Rs 20,000 per month, which he challenged.

The Muslim man’s lawyer had argued that as per the 1986 Muslim Women Act, a divorced Muslim woman is not entitled to claim maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, and that the 1986 Act is more beneficial for Muslim women.

However, the Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Nagarathna and Masih, upheld the Muslim woman’s right to claim maintenance from her former husband and dismissed the man’s petition.

This builds on the landmark 1985 Shah Bano judgment, where the Supreme Court had ruled that Section 125 CrPC is a secular provision applicable to Muslim women as well. However, this was later overturned by the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, whose validity was upheld in 2001.

Read more

India’s top court gives all women the right to abortion

Indian High Court says Muslim law cannot validate Muslim marriages

Punjab challenges SC decision against military trial of civilians

For the latest news, follow us on Twitter @Aaj_Urdu. We are also on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.


women's rights

indian supreme court

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act