Indian Law: Muslim Women have Right to Maintenance till Remarriage


Indian law on matters pertaining to marriage, divorce and succession are governed by personal laws. In Muslim matrimonial mattesr, the laws on a Muslim woman’s right to maintenance are clearly laid down. In August 2010, the Delhi High Court ruled that a Muslim man is liable to pay maintenance, to his ex-wife and minor children, until she remarries. Further, the court held that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to maintenance under the Criminal Procedure Code. The court further said that this is applicable regardless of the provisions of the Muslim law. Muslim law also provides that a person is liable to pay maintenance to his divorced wife, only for the Iddat period (nearly 3 months after dissolution of the marriage).

Indian Law: Section 125, Cr PC is applicable to Divorced Muslim Women

The verdict was given by the Delhi High Court while rejecting a petition filed by a Muslim husband, challenging the orders of a subordinate court. The lower court directed him to pay Rs.2, 000 per month, to his minor daughter, who lives with her mother. Further, the subordinate court held that the Muslim husband was liable to provide maintenance, not only to his estranged wife, but also to his minor children. However, the Muslim husband contended that the entitlement to the right to maintenance for minor children comes to an end, after the completion of 2 years of divorce, under the Muslim law.

The Delhi High Court held that a divorced Muslim woman shall be entitled to claim maintenance from his ex-husband, till she is remarried. Also, the benefits under the provisions of section 125 of the Cr PC are applicable to divorced Muslim women.

While dismissing the plea, Justice S.N. Dhingra stated that the contention was baseless. It was pointed out that even a Muslim woman whose marriage has been dissolved, under Muslim law, is entitled to maintenance, beyond the Iddat period, according to the Criminal Procedure Code, and this will continue till her remarriage. Also, it was held that minor children cannot be deprived of the benefits because of any restrictive stipulation, under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

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