Divorced Muslim Woman Can Claim Maintenance under Section 125 CrPC: SC
Anadi Tewari (Bar  and  Bench) 10 July 2024
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can file a claim for maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against her former husband (Mohd Abdul Samad vs State of Telangana and anr).
A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih pronounced separate but concurring judgments upholding Muslim woman's right after a Muslim man (petitioner) challenged a Telangana High Court direction to pay Rs10,000 interim maintenance to his former wife.
"We are hereby dismissing the criminal appeal with the major conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all woman and not just married woman," Justice Nagarathna said pronouncing the verdict.
The Court also held that if during the pendency of application under Section 125 CrPC, the concerned Muslim woman gets divorced, then she can take recourse to Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.
The 2019 Act provides remedy in addition to the remedy under Section 125 CrPC, the Court added.
The Supreme Court had in a landmark judgment in the Shah Bano case held that Section 125 CrPC is a secular provision applicable to Muslim women too.
The same was however nullified by the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 and the validity of the law was upheld in 2001.
The petition before the top court has raised grievance over the filing of a claims plea under Section 125 of the CrPC by the respondent, a Muslim woman who was the wife of the petitioner before they got divorced.
The matter arose from a Family Court order that had directed the petitioner to pay interim maintenance of Rs20,000 per month.
This was challenged before the High Court on the grounds that the couple had gotten divorced as per Muslim personal law in 2017.
The High Court modified the maintenance to Rs10,000 per month and directed the family court to dispose of the case within six months.
The counsel appearing for the man submitted that in view of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, a divorced Muslim woman is not entitled to claim benefit under Section 125 CrPC.
Further, the 1986 Act is more beneficial to Muslim women, it was contended.
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