SC: Alimony From Husband A Right Not Charity For Divorced Muslim Women

The SC ruled that a divorced Muslim can also seek maintenance from their husband under section 125 of the CrPC

Attention India
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 10 ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can seek alimony from her husband under section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is a law related to the maintenance of wives. The Supreme Court also clarified that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights and Divorce) Act of 1986 will not prevail over the national secular law, which upheld that women can only ask for maintenance during iddat or 90 days after the divorce. 

Maintenance A Fundamental Right Of All Women Irrespective Of Religion

This comes after a bench comprising Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, dismissed a petition filed by a Muslim man challenging the Telangana High Scourt’s direction to pay interim maintenance of Rs. 10,000 to his former wife. Justice Nagarathna further stated that Section 125 of the CrPC will be applicable to all women and not only to married women, upholding that maintenance is not a matter of charity but is a fundamental right of all married women to ensure financial security, irrespective of religious grounds. 

Husbands Must Ensure Wives’ Economic Stability

The bench also clarified that in the case of the pendency of a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC, the woman can resort to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019, which is a remedy in addition to the remedy under Section 125 of the CrPC, as stated by Bar and Bench. The Muslim Women Act of 2019 entitles an aggrieved woman to demand maintenance for her dependent children. The bench pointed out that it is about time that men recognize the sacrifices made by housewives and their fundamental role in a household and the need for husbands to ensure financial and emotional security for their wives, such as maintaining joint bank accounts along with sharing ATM access.

What Was The Case?

Supreme Court verdict on divorced Muslim women’s right to seek alimony from husbands is in relation to the case of ‘Mohd Abdul Samad vs State of Telangana an anr’. Abdul Samad was directed by the family court to pay an allowance of Rs. 20,000 to his divorced wife. He challenged the same and the high court modified his allowance to Rs. 10,000. He then moved to the Supreme Court arguing that a special law (the Muslim Women Act of 1986), must prevail over a general law. An Amicus Curiae, Gaurav Agarwal then argued that any personal law does not have the right to take away a woman’s entitlement to relief, ensuring gender equality under the CrPC.

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