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Maintenace of women under muslim law

Muslim women who have divorced are positioned differently and apart. Even the application of general law (Section 125 of Cr. P.C.) was contingent upon an individual's status and religion (a Muslim woman who had just divorced). A common tactic used by husbands to avoid paying maintenance to their deserted or destitute Muslim (divorced) wives who approach and file an application under Section 125 of Cr. P.C. is to argue that since they are no longer together, they are not liable to provide it. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986 strengthened this viewpoint.[1]

Thankfully, Muslim women, particularly divorced women whose suffering is endless, now feel more powerful thanks to the judiciary's recognition of their plight. In the Danial Latifi case, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Muslim woman who had been divorced and granted her a "constitutional right" to support herself through maintenance (the Shaha Bano case marked the commencement of this legal precedent). [2]

It is stated that a civilization's level of development can be determined by examining the position of women in that society. The entire society bears responsibility for the advancement of women's standing. Therefore, there is a provision to provide for a woman's maintenance if she is unable to support herself after marriage.[3] The foundation of the Islamic CorpusJuries is revealed law, and the maintenance falls under the purview of "God made law" and is thus entitled to protection together with individual religious liberty, identity as guaranteed by Articles 25 and 26 of the Indian Constitution.[4]

Since Mr. Wilson treated maintenance rights as rights enforceable under AngloMohammad Law and asserted minor sons' rights to maintenance from their father based on Baillie's Digest, it would seem that there is no reason to doubt that maintenance rights are enforceable under AngloMohammad Law.[5]

Maintenance often refers to clothing, food, housing, and other necessities. "Nafqah" is the Arabic word for "maintenance," literally meaning "what a person spends over his family." Three items are included in the legal definition of maintenance: (i) food; (ii) clothing; and (iii) accommodation.[6]

The tenets of the Muslim law of maintenance can be summed up as follows: (i) If an individual does not own any property; (ii) If an individual is related to the debtor in a way that is prohibited, or if the debtor is the debtor's wife or child; and (iii) If the debtor is able to provide for himself.[7]

According to the DurralMukhtar, the woman is the Asl (root) and the child is the branch, hence her priority is established because the wife naturally occurs first in the normal order of things. Even if she has the resources to support herself and her spouse does not, the wife is still entitled to maintenance from her husband.[8]

A wife has the right to sue her husband for unpaid maintenance if he refuses to pay. She may file a claim under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908, Section 125, in which case the court may compel the spouse to provide her a monthly stipend, or she may base her claim on the substantive law.[9] The Hedaya and FatwaiAlamgiri establish the maintenance amount by laying down the norm that, in the exercise of the judge's discretion, the status and circumstances of both spouses shall be taken into account. This regulation seems to be rather equitable and just.[10]

The divorced woman is only entitled to maintenance under the Principles of Muhammadan Law for the duration of Iddat. A woman undergoing an Iddat due to a divorce is entitled to support and housing, regardless of whether the Talaq is revocable or irrevocable, and regardless of whether she is pregnant, according to the ancient authority of FatawaiAlarngiri. The underlying idea here is that when a wife exercises her right to separate from her husband, or when a third party causes the separation, the separation will be triggered.[11]

Muslim women practice the Arabic term "iddah" or "iddat," which means "period of waiting." Before she can legitimately get married again, a Muslim woman must observe this time of chastity following the breakdown of her marriage due to her husband's death or divorce. The purpose of watching the iddat period is to confirm the presence of paternity and determine if the lady is pregnant.

During her Iddat, the wife is entitled to maintenance. There is consensus among Sunni and Shia authorities that a Muslim woman who has divorced her husband is only entitled to maintenance from him [12]during the term of iddat.

Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure
All cultures and religions, including Islam, are subject to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states that a wife who is unable to support herself may be supported by her husband. This privilege continues even when a divorced wife remarries. It is important to remember that, before 1973, the only woman who could legally be considered the respondent's wife was entitled to maintenance.

In the case of M Sidhik v Nafees Beevi1, for example, the trial court granted support to the divorced wife in accordance with section 488 of the old code (which corresponds to section 125 of the new Code of 1973) for the duration of the iddat, as stipulated by the parties' of personal law. In an appeal, the Kerala High Court overturned the ruling that the woman had to be a wife when she filed the application in accordance with the Code. Because of this clause, husbands used to frequently file for divorce from their wives in order to avoid having to pay for their maintenance.[13]

The Supreme Court in Bai Tahira[14] placed more emphasis on survival stepping into u/S125 as a secular requirement than it did on the Quran. It was determined that, if she stays single, a wife's claim to maintenance from her husband whether Hindu, Muslim, or someone else entirelyis an unalienable right for someone who lacks the means to support herself. However, the Apex Court upheld the ruling early the following year, declaring that regardless of the facts, the court is tasked under Sections 125127 CrPC with the humanitarian duty of enforcing maintenance, or it's simply the same as a destitute wife when the woman has not received a voluntary amount paid by the husband at the time of divorce.

The inherent and fundamental obligation of a man to support his spouse, children, and parents while they are unable to support themselves is put into practice by Section 125 of the Code. This particular provision was designed specifically to safeguard women as a social justice measure. The Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum[15] case raised questions about the applicability of this clause to Muslim women. The criminal procedure statute is applicable to all women, regardless of their religion, as the court upheld.[16]

The Supreme Court ruled that a Muslim spouse who is unable to support himself must pay maintenance to his divorced wife. The Court also decided that Dower cannot support herself. Muslims around the nation staged widespread protests in response to this ruling, which they saw as an infringement on their right to personal law. As a result of the heated debate, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 was passed.[17]

Muslim Women Protection Act, 1986
Muslims condemned the Shah Bano Case ruling, arguing that it went against the teachings of the Quran and prohibited some Islamic practices. Therefore, in 1986, the Indian Parliament (Congress government) decided to pass the Muslim women (Protection of Rights of Divorce) Act. The primary goal of the law is to defend the rights of Muslim women who have divorced or separated from their husbands.

This act states that Muslim divorced women should have the right to reasonable support up until the Iddat period.[18] A divorced woman's husband is legally required to contribute a set amount of maintenance to her kid for a maximum of two years, whether the child was born before or after the divorce. Right now, the question is whether this Act's sections 125 to 128 are inconsistent with one another.

Therefore, when any party (wife or husband) appears before the magistrate on the wife's application under section 3 of this act, they have the option to be governed by this act or by the code of criminal procedure, according to section 5 of this act. This seems to exclude any possibility of a conflict between the two clauses. The parliament would not have offered the parties a choice if there had been discrepancy. Sections 3(1) (a), 3(1) (b), 3(3), 4, and 5 all have different language that make it clear that parliament intended the divorced lady to have total security.[19]

Case Analysis
The Supreme Court ruled in Danial Latifi v. UOI[20] that the guarantee of reasonable and fair maintenance under Section 3(i) (a) is not restricted to the iddat period, but rather lasts for the divorced wife's whole lifetime, up until her marriage. The Court additionally concluded that the right to a reasonable and fair provision mentioned in Section 3 is an enforceable right that is in addition to what the divorced woman's former husband is required to pay in maintenance.

The right to a reasonable and fair provision mentioned in Section 3 is enforceable exclusively against the former husband of the woman. Fair and reasonable arrangements would be determined by taking into account the husband's resources, the needs of the divorced women, and the standard of living experienced throughout the marriage.[21]

Once more, the Supreme Court ruled in Sabra Shamim v. Maqsood Ansari[22] that a divorced wife is entitled to maintenance under Section 3(1) (a) and Section 4 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 for the duration of her life, or until she remarries.

Iqbal Bano V. State of U.P. And Ors[23]
In 1959, the appellant wed respondent no. 2, and the couple welcomed a child into the world in 1966. After the son passed away in 1991, the respondentwho did not live with the appellantceased to visit the appellant's home. At that point, the respondent also received a notification demanding maintenance. After the respondent claimed that they had divorced a long time ago after saying the word "Talaq" three times, an application under Section 125 Cr.P.C. was filed in response to the denial of any maintenance. The respondent added that the Iddat period for maintenance claims had passed, that he had gotten married a second time, and that he had given Mehr to the appellant.[24]

Issue: Will the husband be required to provide maintenance after the divorce date? Whether a divorce can be approved based on a document claiming that the word "Talaq" was said

Judgement: The court determined that the First Revisional Court's assertion that no Muslim woman is eligible to file a petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is untenable. Conclusions drawn from a statement that claims the word "Talaq" was uttered three times are not supported by the law. Under Section 3(i)(a) of the Act, the husband is required to make provisions for equitable maintenance, and his obligation does not cease with the iddat term. The High Court's ruling was overturned and the appeal was dismissJed, with the Act being upheld as lawful in accordance with Articles 14, 15, and 21. [25]

Shabana Bano vs. Imran Khan
The case of Shabana Bano vs. Imran Khan is a significant ruling rendered by the Indian Supreme Court, which consisted of two judges: Taking it a step further, on December 4, 2009, B. Sudershan Reddy and Deepak Verma questioned whether Muslim divorced women might claim support under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. even after the 'iddat time'. The court determined that a Muslim woman is entitled to support from her husband under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. even after her marriage has ended and the iddat period has passed. The Supreme Court ruled that a woman's claim for support under section 125 of the Cr.P.C. is maintainable, even if section 5 of the Muslim Women Protection Act does not apply.[26]

It is clear from the Supreme Court's consideration of the aforementioned rulings that the definition of maintenance is a contentious subject that falls under the purview of several acts. There is only one conclusion to be drawn from the patterns observed in the rulings, and that is that women play a significant role in society and that justice should be served to all segments of the population. Notwithstanding certain gaps in the legislation, particularly in section 3, which specifies that the husband should provide support only during the term of iddat, this legislation has led to all of these issues and assisted in the issuance of these rulings. Despite numerous societal and political pressures, the Supreme Court made its decision without showing any prejudice.[27]

Through these several rulings, it protected the fundamental values of the constitution and maintained women's rights. Even though every ruling discusses maintenance, the sheer volume of these cases paints a bigger picture because the right to equality is one of the most important issues at hand. All the times the trend followed was same and Supreme Court being the last arbiter of Constitution preserved the fundamental rights of women. There has been a significant increase in the number of maintenance cases filed before the Supreme Court, suggesting that the regulations have had some impact on actual circumstances.[28]

Before these rulings took effect, Muslim law was divided on the subject of support after a divorce. Thankfully, Muslim women have benefited from the judiciary's clear generosity, and they now seem to have more powerdivorced women, in particular, whose situation was considerably worse. legislation that impede the implementation of general legislation concerning the fundamental means of subsistence guaranteed to divorced women under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution ought to be repealed as well. With regard to the fundamental and essential elements of personal laws, the State shall endeavour to execute a uniform civil code in accordance with Article 44 of the Indian Constitution in order to prevent any future violations of the law and conflicts.[29]

  1. Meher Tatineni, maintenance of a muslim wife under section 125 crpc, Journals of Legal studies and Research, 77
  2. Ibid
  3. Mathur, Virendra, A Critical Study of Social Security for Muslim Women under Mohammedan Law (2012), (Thesis, Chapter 2, Maharaja Gunj university).
  4. Mathur, Virendra, A Critical Study of Social Security for Muslim Women under Mohammedan Law (2012), (Thesis, Chapter 7, Maharaja Gunj university).
  5. Ibid
  6. Syed Khalid Rashid, Muslim Law 126 (EBC 2020).
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. Commentary On Mohammedan Law 447 (Diwedi publishing company 2007)
  10. Ibid
  12. Iddat under Muslim personal laws, IP LEADERS, (Mar. 11, 2024, 11:38 P.M.)
  13. JASVIR, Women s rights to maintenance in India a study of latest judicial trends(2018), (Thesis, Chapter 4, Maharshi Dayanand University).
  14. Bai Tahira A vs Ali Hussain Fissalli Chothia, AIR 1979 SUPREME COURT 362,
  15. Mohammad Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, 2001 SCC SC 1168
  16. Meher Tatineni, maintenance of a muslim wife under section 125 crpc, Journals of Legal studies and Research, 77
  17. Maintenance Rights in Muslim Personal LawTarannum Siddiqui, International Journal of Humanities & Social Science Studies, 163
  18. Syed Khalid Rashid, Muslim Law 126 (EBC 2020).
  19. Mathur, Virendra, A Critical Study of Social Security for Muslim Women under Mohammedan Law (2012), (Thesis, Chapter 2, Maharaja Gunj university).
  20. Danial Latifi v. UOI, 2001 7 SCC 740
  21. Meher Tatineni, maintenance of a muslim wife under section 125 crpc, Journals of Legal studies and Research, 77
  22. Sabra Shamim v. Maqsood Ansari 2004 9 SCC 616
  23. Iqbal Bano V. State of U.P. And Ors 2007 6 SCC 785
  25. Ibid, 21
  26. Syed Khalid Rashid, Muslim Law 126 (EBC 2020).
  27. Meher Tatineni, maintenance of a muslim wife under section 125 crpc, Journals of Legal studies and Research, 77
  28. Sir Dinshaw Fardunji Mulla, Principles Of Mahomedan Law 330 (LexisNexis 2013).
  29. Ibid

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