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Landmark ruling: SC says Muslim women can seek maintenance from husbands after divorce under Sec 125 of CrPC

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed that Muslim women can seek maintenance from their husbands under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Muslim women entitled to alimony on divorce, rules Supreme Court snt
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First Published Jul 10, 2024, 11:07 AM IST

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that Muslim women can claim maintenance from their husbands after divorce under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), a provision applicable to all married women regardless of religion. 

Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, delivering separate but concurring judgments, affirmed that Section 125 of the CrPC, concerning a wife's entitlement to maintenance, extends to Muslim women as well.

"We are hereby dismissing the criminal appeal with the major conclusion that section 125 would be applicable to all women and not just married women," Justice Nagarathna said while pronouncing the verdict.

The bench also said that maintenance is a right, not charity, applicable to all married women irrespective of their religion.

The bench clarified that if a Muslim woman is divorced while a petition under Section 125 of the CrPC is pending, she can also seek recourse under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019. The bench emphasized that the remedy provided by the 2019 Act is in addition to the remedy available under Section 125 CrPC.

The SC dismissed the petition of Mohd Abdul Samad, who challenged the Telangana High Court's decision not to intervene in a maintenance order issued by the family court.

Samad argued that divorced Muslim women cannot claim maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC and must rely on the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

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