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MUSLIM WOMEN - Maintenance

CITATION of the case: - Shamim Bano v. Asraf Khan (Cr. No. 4377 of 2012)
BENCH CONSISTS OF: - Dipak Misra and Vikramajit Sen JJ.
DATE OF JUDGEMNT: - 16 April 2014
HEADNOTE: Relevant law: - Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, Criminal
Procedure Code (1973), Indian Penal Code (1860)
Section: - Sec 498-A of IPC (1860), Sec 125 of Crpc, Sec3 and Sec 4 of Muslim Women
(Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986

Facts of Case: - The appellant Shamim Bano and respondent Asraf Khan were married on
November 17, 1993 in accordance with Sharia Law. As the appellant was meted with cruelty and
torture by the husband and his family members regarding demand for dowry, she was compelled
to lodge a report at the Mahila Thana Drug on 6 Sept, 1994, on the basis of which a criminal case
under Section 498-Aread with section 34 IPC and eventually it was tried by the learned
Magistrate. Even as her application for grant of maintenance was pending, divorce took place on
May 5, 1997. A magistrate while rejecting her plea for taking into consideration that during the
pendency of the case the couples were granted divorce, directed Khan and others to pay her Rs
11, 786 towards Mahr (a form of dowry) to return goods and ornaments and Rs.1750 towards
maintenance only for the iddat period.
LAW DISCUSSED: - Under Indian laws Petition under Section 125 Criminal procedure Code
would be maintainable before the Family Court as the appellant does not remarry. The amount of
maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 CrPC cannot be restricted for the iddat period
only. As per Section 4 of the Muslim Women Act, 1986 where the Magistrate is satisfied that a
divorced woman has not re-married and is not able to maintain herself after the iddat period, he
may make an order directing such of her relatives as would be entitled to inherit her property on
her death according to Muslim law to pay such reasonable and fair maintenance to her as he may
determine fit and proper, having regard to the needs of the divorced woman, the standard of life
enjoyed by her during her marriage and the means of such relatives and such maintenance shall
be payable by such relatives in the proportions in which they would inherit her property and at
such periods as he may specify in his order:

Provided that where such divorced woman has children, the Magistrate shall order only such
children to pay maintenance to her, and in the event of any such children being unable to pay
such maintenance, the Magistrate shall order the parents of such divorced woman to pay
maintenance to her:

Provided further that if any of the parents is unable to pay his or her share of maintenance
ordered by the Magistrate on the ground of his or her not having the means to pay the same, the
Magistrate may, on proof of such inability being furnished to him, order that the share of such
relatives in the maintenance ordered by him be paid by such of the other relatives as may appear
to the Magistrate to have the means of paying the same in such proportions as the Magistrate

may think fit to order.


Section 498-a of Indian Penal code says:-

Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.

Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to
cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and
shall also be liable to fine.

JUDGEMENT: - The Bench said:-An aspect which has to be kept uppermost in mind is
that when the marriage breaks up a woman suffers emotional fractures, fragmentation of
sentiments, loss of economic and social security and, in certain cases, inadequate requisites of
survival. A marriage is fundamentally a unique bond between 2 parties. When it perishes like
a mushroom, the dignity of the female gets corroded. It is the laws duty to recompense, and
the primary obligation is that of the husband. Needless to emphasize, the entitlement and the
necessitous provisions have to be made in accordance with the parameters of law.
The Supreme Court has held that A Muslim women (Shamim) will be entitled to maintenance
from her husband even after divorce. Justice Misra said:-A divorced woman who has not
remarried and who is not able to maintain herself after the iddat period (It is the waiting period
after a declaration of divorce) can proceed as provided under Section 4 of the Act against his
relatives, who are liable to maintain her in proportion to the properties which they inherit on her
death according to the Muslim law from such divorced woman including her children and her

parents and if any of the relatives being unable to pay maintenance , the Magistrate may direct
the State Wakf Board established under the act to pay such maintenance.