SC Agrees to Examine if a Divorced Muslim Woman Can Seek Maintenance under CrPC

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By ETV Bharat English Desk

Published : Feb 12, 2024, 10:17 PM IST

File photo: Supreme Court (Source ETV Bharat)

A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih has agreed to examine whether a divorced Muslin woman can seek maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The bench has posted the matter for February 19. Reports ETV Bharat's Sumit Saxena

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether a divorced Muslim woman can seek maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the CrPC.

A bench comprising Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih noted that the petitioner, a Muslim man, has challenged the filing of a petition under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) by the respondent divorced Muslim woman.

Senior advocate S Wasim A Qadri, representing the petitioner, submitted that in view of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, a divorced Muslim woman is not entitled to maintain a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC and has to proceed under the provisions of the aforesaid 1986 Act.

It was argued before the bench that the 1986 Act is more beneficial to the Muslim woman as compared to Section 125 of the CrPC.

"We find that this Court would be benefited by having the views of an Amicus Curiae, being appointed in the matter. Hence, we request Gaurav Agarwal, senior counsel to be appointed as amicus curiae in this case," said the bench, in its order delivered on February 9.

The bench, scheduling the matter for further hearing on February 19, said: "A set of papers of this case shall be made available by the registry to Gaurav Agarwal, senior counsel. A copy of this order shall also be made available by the registry to him."

Section 125 of the CrPC mandates a person having sufficient means to maintain his wife, children (legitimate or illegitimate), and father or mother in case they are unable to maintain themselves.

The petitioner has questioned a Telangana High Court direction to pay Rs 10,000 interim maintenance to his former wife. The appeal filed by the man contended that a divorced Muslim woman cannot seek maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC as the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, will prevail over it.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, provides for a procedure for a Muslim woman to claim maintenance during divorce. The law was introduced after the 1985 Shah Bano judgment. The judgment allowed a Muslim woman to take maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the CrPC.

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