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Divorced Muslim Women Can Claim Maintenance Under Section 125 CrPC: Supreme Court

Supreme Court Affirms Maintenance Rights for Divorced Muslim Women Under Section 125 CrPC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can seek maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) from her former husband [Mohd Abdul Samad vs. State of Telangana and Anr]. A bench comprising Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih delivered separate but concurring judgments affirming this right.

This ruling came after a Muslim man challenged a Telangana High Court order directing him to pay ₹10,000 as interim maintenance to his ex-wife. “We are dismissing the criminal appeal with the major conclusion that Section 125 CrPC is applicable to all women, not just married women,” Justice Nagarathna declared.

The Court also clarified that if a Muslim woman is divorced while an application under Section 125 CrPC is pending, she can also seek recourse under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, which provides an additional remedy.

This decision aligns with the Supreme Court’s landmark Shah Bano case judgment, which held that Section 125 CrPC is a secular provision applicable to Muslim women. However, this was nullified by the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, whose validity was upheld in 2001.

The case arose from a Family Court order that directed the petitioner to pay interim maintenance of ₹20,000 per month, which was later reduced to ₹10,000 by the High Court. The petitioner argued that under the 1986 Act, a divorced Muslim woman is not entitled to benefits under Section 125 CrPC and contended that the 1986 Act is more beneficial for Muslim women.

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