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Maintenance Under Hindu and Muslim law

Mohd. Ahmed Khan v, Shah Bano Begum, AIR 1985 SC 945

MOHD. AHMED KHAN V. SHAH BANO BEGUM

Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum AIR 1985 SC 945

ISSUE:

  • Whether a “wife” in the CrPC included a divorced Muslim woman?
  • Whether Section 125 of the CrPC overrides Muslim personal law?
  • Whether a conflict exists between the payment of maintenance upon a divorce under Section 125 of the CrPC and Muslim personal law?
  • Whether the sum payable on the divorce of a Muslim marriage is limited to the period of iddah?

RULE:

  • Clause (b) of Section 125 contains no words of limitation to exclude Muslim women from its scope, it is secular in character.
  • A divorced Muslim woman is a wife under Section 125 of the CrPC so long as she has not remarried. The statutory rights granted to her are unaffected by personal law.
  • Muslim personal law (limiting the husband’s liability to the period of iddah) does not contemplate a case where the wife is unable to maintain herself. The true provision is that a husband’s liability only ceases at the end of the period of iddah so long as the wife is able to maintain herself.

FACTS:

  • Shah Bano Begum was married to Mohd. Ahmed Khan, a lawyer in 1932.
  • They lived together for 43 years and had five children.
  • Khan disowned Shah Bano in 1975 and threw her out of the marital home.
  • In April 1978, Khan stopped giving Shah Bano the 200 rupees per month that he had allegedly promised her in 1975.
  • Shah Bano then filed suit in a local court in Indore demanding maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC claiming that she did not have the means to maintain herself and her children.
  • In November of 1978, Khan gave Shah Bano an irrevocable talaq and claimed no obligation to pay maintenance as his obligation to Shah Bano had ceased under Muslim personal law.
  • Following the decision in the Indore local court, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh adjudged on the case and ultimately, Khan appealed to the Supreme Court.

HELD:

  • The appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
  • It was held that Section 125 of the CrPC is secular in character and thus applies to all religions without any form of discrimination.
  • The court held that the provisions of the CrPC overrule any personal law prevalent in India.
  • It was ruled that should a divorced wife be unable to maintain herself, the husband’s responsibility to pay maintenance extends beyond the iddah period.
  • Further Impact of the Case:
  • The Shah Bano verdict is widely known to have led to The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986 that, in effect, nullified the judgement allowing maintenance to be payable only during the period of iddah (or 90 days till after the divorce).
Categories
Maintenance Under Hindu and Muslim law

Danial Latifi v. Union of India (2001) 7 SCC 740

DANIAL LATIFI V. UNION OF INDIA

Danial Latifi v. Union of India (2001) 7 SCC 740

ISSUE:

  • Whether the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986 is constitutionally valid?

RULE:

  • A careful reading of the Act would indicate that a divorced woman is entitled to a reasonable and fair provision of maintenance.
  • A divorced Muslim woman who has not remarried can proceed under Section 4 of the Act against her relatives who are liable to maintain her in accordance with Muslim law, should the relatives be unable to maintain the woman, a Magistrate may direct the State Waqf board to pay such maintenance.

FACTS:

  • The Shah Bano case led to the passage of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986 that allegedly nullified the Shah Bano judgement by limiting the liability of the husband to the iddah period of 90 days.
  • It is claimed that the Act was passed solely to appease certain sections of society.
  • Further contended is the fact that it is violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

HELD:

  • It was held that at the time of the divorce, the husband must bear in mind the future needs of the wife and make arrangements for the same. Such a requirement to pay maintenance extends beyond the iddah period.
  • The Supreme Court further ruled that the provisions of the Act do not offend Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Following this, the Act was upheld.
Categories
Maintenance Under Hindu and Muslim law

Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 288

SHAMIMA FAROOQUI V. SHAHID KHAN

Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan (2015) 5 SCC 705

ISSUE:

  • Whether Farooqui can claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC?
  • What is the sum of maintenance payable to Farooqui?

RULE:

  • The court referred to Shamim Bano v Asraf Khan [(2014) 12 SCC 636], Danial Latifi v Union of India [(2001) 7 SCC 740], Khatoon Nisa v State of UP [(2014) 12 SCC 646] and Shabana Bano v Imran Khan [(2010) 1 SCC 666] as binding precedent for the first issue.
  • The reduction of the High Court was without reason and makes it extremely difficult for Farooqui to live alone; Section 125 allows for enough maintenance for the wife to sustain herself.

FACTS:

  • Shamima Farooqui was married to Shahid Khan in 1992.
  • While living together, Farooqui was prohibited from talking to others, Khan demanded a car from the family and began harassing her.
  • Khan sent Farooqui back to her family home where she stayed for three months.
  • Upon returning, the demand for the car and harassment continued.
  • Farooqui also found out of an illicit affair Khan was having with a woman he intended to marry.
  • When she confronted him about the affair, Khan assaulted her.
  • She took shelter at her parents’ home and was treated for fear psychosis.
  • She filed a grant for maintenance of 4,000 rupees per month.
  • Khan claimed that he had already divorced her in 1997 and paid her the mehr.
  • Farooqui maintained that she had no knowledge of the divorce and had not received any mehr.
  • The case was heard by a Family Judge who set maintenance at 4000 rupees per month and further by the High Court who reduced the maintenance to 2000 rupees per month and the appeal is now presented in the Supreme Court.

HELD:

  • With reference to precedent, the Supreme Court unequivocally ruled that Section 125 is applicable to all faiths and in this case as well.
  • It was held that a woman leaves a marital home as a result of divorce, she is deprived of many a comfort. Along with this is the emotional trauma and the only comfort that the law can provide is binding the husband to provide maintenance.
  • The order of the Family Judge was not perverse, it was not as though a large fortune was given to the wife and the sole fact that the husband is now retired is no justification to reduce the maintenance by 50%.
  • The order of the High Court was set aside and the order of the Family Judge upheld. Farooqui was to be provided maintenance at the rate of 4000 rupees per month.