Muslim Bodies Mull Legal Recourse to SC Ruling on Maintenance for Divorced Women


Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Premier Muslim organisations including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and Jamiat Ulema Hind (JUH) and All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) have decided to take legal recourse to the Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling clarifying that under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to demand maintenance from her  former husband.

The apex court emphasised this entitlement as a right and not a form of begging.

Commenting on the ruling, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, AIMPLB President said Muslims should not lose heart. “Implement the decision of the Shariah with your own consent,” he said further explaining that a team of scholars and lawyers is preparing to present the AIMPLB case to an appropriate bench when the time is right. “Pray that Allah Almighty grants success to the board in this endeavour,” he added.

Maulana Rahmani highlighted that this decision is not unprecedented, as similar rulings have been made in the past. He attributed the current situation to amendments made during the regime of Rajiv Gandhi, which were seen as potentially leading to misinterpretations by the courts. “The board had repeatedly demanded amendments, but the government assured us that it would be done later, which never happened,” he noted.

Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, JUH President, also weighed in, stating, “The legal team of Jamiat Ulema Hind is reviewing the decision of the Supreme Court. A meeting will also be held with the lawyers. Legally, what will be appropriate will be done.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling came after a Muslim man, Abdul Samad, challenged the Telangana High Court’s order to pay maintenance to his divorced wife. The bench, comprising Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih, rejected Samad’s petition against the maintenance directive under Section 125 of the CrPC.

Mohd. Sulaiman, Vice President of the All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, also spoke on the ruling, referring to the landmark Shah Bano case of 1985. “The courts believe religious guarantees alone are not enough to protect women’s rights,” he noted. Sulaiman pointed out that while some women might prefer court decisions for maintenance, divorce under Islamic law does not finalise separation, preventing women from remarrying. He called this an “unnatural approach.”

Sulaiman emphasised that those seeking relief under CrPC 125 will receive it and that the Muslim community is not exempt from this provision. He suggested that women who want a divorce under Islamic Shariah should go through Darul Qadha, which he believes is a better option for them.

“The Shah Bano case caused a significant reaction from the Muslim community, leading to new legislation. Yet, the Supreme Court still interprets these laws,” Sulaiman said. He stressed that women who believe they can get justice from national courts under CrPC 125 can pursue that route. However, he highlighted the issue that even after separation, a woman cannot remarry if she still receives maintenance from her husband, calling it an “unnatural practice.”

Sulaiman concluded by saying that Shariah law is clear about respecting and honouring women, stating that a woman getting separated from her husband should have her needs met by him. “If a woman’s family is satisfied with Shariah, then Darul Qadha is the centre for decisions. Those not satisfied with Shariah can seek solutions through the country’s judiciary without any restrictions,” he added.

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