A Muslim husband is Duty bound to maintain his wife, whether she is Muslim or Kitabiyyah, poor or rich, enjoyed or unenjoyed, young or old.
However the wife is too young for matrimonial intercourse she has no right to maintenance from her husband, whether she is living in his house or with her parents.
The husband is bound to maintain his wife so long as she is faithful to him and obeys his reasonable orders.
In a landmark Judgment Strachy and Badruddin Tyabji, JJ., observed that disobedient wife need not to be maintained
“…the husband’s duty to maintain his wife is conditional on her obedience and he is not bound to maintain her if she is disobeys him by refusing to live with him or otherwise.
Only paid occasional visits to husband house, staying for a night or so returning on occasion to mother’s house… I am clearly of the opinion that in such circumstances the Muhammadan husband is not bound to give his wife separate maintenance…”
To some effect the observations of Tyabji, J ,. :
“…it is impossible to hold that a Mussulman wife defying her husband, refusing to live with him, and bringing scandalous charges against him, can yet claim to be maintained separately at the expenses of her husband.”
Where the marriage is valid and the wife is capable to render marital intercourse it’s the husband’s duty to maintain his wife even though she may have means to maintain herself. But if she unjustifiably refuses to cohabit with her husband then she loses her right for maintenance. The right of maintenance would also be lost if the wife refuses to obey the reasonable commands of the Husband but not so if disobedience is justified by circumstances or if she is forced to leave husband’s house on account of cruelty, so that of the husband refuses to maintain his wife without any lawful reasons/causes the wife may sue him for maintenance. She is not however entitled to past maintenance. Maintenance is payable from the date of the decree unless the claim is based on specific agreement.
Where a wife is turned out or ill treated so as to make her impossible to stay or live together with her husband, or where the breach between the wife and husband is irremediable she is entitled to maintenance by living separate from him whether the question arises u/s. 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (corresponding section. 488 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1998) or in a suit for restitution of conjugal life.