Supreme Court Upholds Muslim Women’s Right to Maintenance Under CrPC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a landmark ruling, reaffirming the right of Muslim women to seek maintenance from their husbands under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). A bench comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih dismissed a petition challenging a Telangana High Court order that upheld the maintenance order of a Family Court. The court firmly asserted that Section 125 of the CrPC is a secular provision applicable to all married women, regardless of their religion. This effectively negates the argument that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, should supersede this secular law.

The court further emphasized that maintenance is not a charitable act but a fundamental right of all married women. It highlighted the significant role of homemakers within families and stressed the need for practical measures to ensure their economic security. The bench suggested practical steps such as joint bank accounts and shared ATM access as means of achieving this financial stability.

The case involved Mohammed Abdul Samad, who challenged the Telangana High Court order refusing to interfere with a maintenance order issued by the Family Court. Samad had argued that since he had divorced his wife according to personal laws in 2017, and a divorce certificate was available, the Family Court should not have ordered interim maintenance. He maintained that a divorced Muslim woman must seek maintenance under the provisions of the 1986 Act, not Section 125 of the CrPC.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed Samad’s appeal, firmly upholding the principle that Section 125 of the CrPC applies to all married women, including Muslim women. The court clarified that the 1986 Act does not supersede the secular provision of Section 125, ensuring that all women have access to this legal recourse for financial security.

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