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Law_Learner (Asst. Mgr.)     07 April 2015

Sc: right to maintenance of a wife absolute

The Supreme Court on Monday said the right to maintenance of a wife was absolute and no exceptions could be made, ruling that Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which embodies this rule, would apply to divorced Muslim women as well.

"If the husband is healthy, able-bodied and is in a position to support himself, he is under the legal obligation to support his wife, for the wife's right to receive maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, unless disqualified, is an absolute right," a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant said.

SC clarified maintenance under the section cannot be restricted in any way for divorced Muslim women who would be entitled to the allowance as long as they do not remarry.

"The amount of maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 CrPC cannot be restricted for the iddat period only," the court said, citing an earlier ruling by a Constitution bench. The clarification would help divorced Muslim women whose right to maintenance was curtailed by a law passed in Parliament by the Rajiv Gandhi government in the wake of the top court's Shah Bano ruling.

Though family courts have over the years whittled down the rigour of the law to give relief to divorced Muslim women too, the court's ruling settles the issue that civil law of the land would prevail over any personal laws. "There can be no shadow of doubt that an order under Section 125 CrPC can be passed if a person, despite having sufficient means, neglects or refuses to maintain the wife," the bench said.


Sometimes, a plea is advanced by the husband that he does not have the means to pay for he does not have a job or his business is not doing well. These are only bald excuses and, in fact, they have no acceptability in law."

The court said this in a case involving one Shamima Farooqui from Lucknow. She was ill-treated by her husband Shahid Khan, who later remarried. Her application filed in 1998 was taken up in 2012. Khan was a Nayak in the Army who earned `17,654 per month, including perks. The family court initially granted her Rs.2,000 per month and later Rs.4,000 per month after recording that she had no other means of supporting herself.

However, the high court reduced it to Rs.2,000 per month, taking note of the fact that the husband had retired from the Army in 2012. This drew the top court's ire. "In today's world, it is extremely difficult to conceive that a woman of her status would be in a position to manage within Rs.2,000 per month The inherent and fundamental principle behind Section 125 is for amelioration of financial state of affairs.


 9 Replies

fighting back (exec)     07 April 2015 the educated. wealthy. stubborn, wicked and cunning wives (not the innocent and genuine victimes) have got a strong and renewed licence to loot from the highest judiciary........hats off


especially the para below/...............

Sometimes, a plea is advanced by the husband that he does not have the means to pay for he does not have a job or his business is not doing well. These are only bald excuses and, in fact, they have no acceptability in law." no matter how genuine the husband is about his loss of job or income..........he can go to hell.............they have no the courts can very well create job reservations for jobless husbands in pvt and govt he can survive to pay the 125 woman

N R Dash.. (Advocate)     07 April 2015

This is crap not for a healthy society.

Born Fighter (xxx)     07 April 2015

The recent statement on Judiciary getting influenced our PM stands correct


I don't understand what kind of laws are being created and practiced. 

Samir N (General Queries) (Business)     07 April 2015

Gentlemen, no need to worry.  The Courts always leave some loopholes... there is clearly one here... "unless disqualified"  That should be the focus of any man opposing an application for maintenance. Arguments such as not having a job or insufficient income have always been disregarded by Courts anyway.  I have not read the full judgment but if indeed there is no clarification on the exception "unless disqualified" somewhere in the judgment, this specific judgment should not be of much concern to men.  Media appears to hype judgments without going deep into the facts of the  case or the specific language used. The facts of the case should also be referred to in any defense presented to this judgment's applicability.  Ultimately Judges like to give deserving ("qualifying") women maintenance and non-deserving ("disqualified" ones)  nothing or less... this judgment does not change that. Right?

1 Like

rameshkumar (test)     08 April 2015

Samir,This is a very good catch and is a trap for arrogant and cunning  wives.

N R Dash.. (Advocate)     08 April 2015

In practical sphere, the actual mindset of the Judiciary in most parts of INDIA is that they basically check two factors while granting maintenance:


1. Acceptance of Marriage (If not disputed)

2. Living separately


"unless disqualified" grounds are already provisioned in S125 CrPC. However, the local Judges do not even pay any attention towards that.


Now this judgment of SC will only provide an impetus to their traditional mindset & the poor husband (who actually is a victim of this trap) would be immensely burdened to establish the “disqualification” parameters and convince the Judge accordingly. This is lead to more frustration & mental harassment to the aggrieved husband.


When the wife establish everything by simply filing a false affidavit, it would be very very difficult for the husband to establish the “disqualification” of the wife.

fighting back (exec)     08 April 2015

totally agree with samir and nihar.......if the respondent husband manages to extract the truth from the cunning wife of her qualification and earlier working status or present working status and manage to convince the court that she is intentionally sitting idle, then also maintainence can be denied based on past judgements of HC's..

the extraction of facts and circustances in cross examination is extremely crucial and can very easily demolish an affidavit filed by the wife

Maintenancevictim (Own)     13 April 2015

My view on this is - while the Apex court has clarified on Rights of wife, can they also clarify on the duties of wife? In other words, if husband is responible to maintain wife, then what is the authority bestowed upon him? Try telling a traffic constable to control traffic without giving him the right to issue challans / fine offenders and you will see the kind of chaos it will lead to. Responsibility without authority will lead to chaos. Rights without responsibilities will lead to laziness or anarchy

It is here i would like to bring the reference of the vows taken during "Saptapadi" or " Saat Phere" - which clearly lays down what the husband promises the wife and vice versa. Can these be used as a guideline to determine to what extent each spouse has discharged his / her responsibilities?

TGK REDDI (No designation)     26 April 2015

I agree with Shri Maintenancevictim.        Maintenance is needed when a person is unable to maintain themselves.         If a woman has crores of property, should she really be maintained?        A woman has a right in her father's property now on the same footing as her brothers and sisters.       Should there be any place for Maintenance now to a wife or, for that matter, a husband?

Supreme Court also joined hands with the public in giving blank cheque to women.  

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