Muslim Women Can Seek Maintenance After Divorce Under CrPC Section 125: Supreme Court

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New Delhi: In a historic decision, the Supreme Court has brought significant relief to divorced Muslim women. Today, the court ruled that Muslim women can file petitions for maintenance against their husbands under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Importantly, this provision applies not only to married women but also to all women, including live-in partners.

Key Points:

  1. Maintenance Rights: The Supreme Court clarified that maintenance is a right, not a mere donation. All married women, regardless of their religion, are entitled to it.
  2. Section 125 CrPC: This section ensures that any person with sufficient means cannot neglect or refuse to maintain their wife, children, or parents. It applies universally, transcending marital status.
  3. Muslim Women Included: A bench comprising Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih emphasized that Muslim women fall under the purview of Section 125 CrPC. Their right to maintenance is protected by this provision.
  4. 1986 Act vs. CrPC: The court rejected the argument that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, prevails over Section 125 CrPC. The 1986 Act was enacted to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Shah Bano case.
  5. Case of Mohammad Abdul Samad: The court dismissed Samad’s challenge to the Telangana High Court’s order regarding alimony. Samad contended that divorced Muslim women were not entitled to alimony under Section 125 CrPC. However, the Supreme Court upheld their right to seek maintenance.
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This landmark decision ensures that divorced Muslim women can assert their rights to financial support, irrespective of their marital status or religious background.