Divorced Muslim girl entitled to life upkeep: Allahabad High Court

PRAYAGRAJ: In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, the Allahabad High Court ruled that a Muslim woman has the right to receive maintenance from her ex-husband, not just until the end of the ‘iddat’ period, but for the rest of her life .

The alimony should be such that she can lead the same life as before the divorce, the court ruled. “Iddat” is a custom that forbids Muslim women from going out and seeing relatives for four months after the death of their husband.

The court overturned the order of the Chief Judge of the Family Court in Ghazipur to grant alimony only up to the ‘Iddat’ period, ruling it illegal. The court in Ghazipur issued the order without carefully examining the legal provisions and evidence.

“Under Section 3(3) of the Muslim Act, 1986, an injunction may be made directing the ex-husband of the ex-husband to pay her such reasonable and just support and maintenance as may be reasonable and reasonable having regard to the ex-husband’s needs her standard of living enjoyed during the marriage and her ex-husband’s means,” the court noted.

“The word ‘provision’ used in Section 3 of the Muslim Act 1986 indicates that something is provided in advance to meet specific needs,” the court said.

“In other words, at the time of divorce, the Muslim husband must consider future needs and make preparatory arrangements in advance to meet those needs,” the court said.

“‘Reasonable and fair care’ may include care for her home, food, clothing and other items,” the court said.

“In the case of Danial Latifi and another (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court in paragraph-28 fairly interpreted the provisions of Section 3 relating to fair care and maintenance, finding that “they extend to the entire life of would the divorced wife unless she remarries,” the court noted.

The court found that Section 4 concerned the ordering of alimony. “Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Act or any other Act now in force, if a magistrate is satisfied that a divorced woman has not remarried and is unable to support herself after the ‘iddat’ period contest, he may issue an order directing those of her relatives who would be entitled under Muslim law to inherit her property upon her death, to pay her a reasonable and fair alimony, which he considers reasonable and reasonable, having regard to the woman’s needs to a divorced woman, the standard of living she enjoyed during her marriage and the means of such relatives and such maintenance are to be paid by such relatives in the proportion in which they would inherit the property and for such periods”.

The HC said that under Section 3(2) of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, a divorced woman may apply to a judge for maintenance from her ex-husband.

The court ordered the judge to issue a maintenance order within three months and then ruled that the ex-husband would pay his ex-wife provisional alimony of Rs 5,000 a month.

The ruling in favor of Zahid Khatoon’s plea was rendered by a division of Bench of Justice SP Kesarwani and Justice MAH Idrisi.

The HC clarified that a Muslim woman is entitled to maintenance from her ex-husband even after the usual ‘iddat’ period has elapsed. If she does not receive child support, she has the right to appeal to the judge, the court said in its ruling.

Zahid Khatoon married Noorul Haq Khan on May 21, 1989. After their nikah (marriage), the husband got a job in a post office. However, he divorced his wife on June 28, 2000 and remarried two years later. His ex-wife filed an application under Section 3 of the Muslim Women Protection Act with the Judicial Magistrate, Junior Division, Ghazipur. The case was referred by the District Judge to the Family Court.

She also filed an application under Section 125 of the CrPC. During the hearing, the judge ordered the ex-husband to pay her Rs 1,500 per month until the time before the divorce.

The motion for revision filed against the order was dismissed and no motion was filed against it.

The family court, after examining the evidence and testimonies, ordered the ex-husband to pay Rs 1,500 a month for a period of three months and 13 days. (ANI)

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