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'Not A Charity': SC Upholds Rights Of Muslim Women To Seek Alimony

The Supreme Court of India observed that a Muslim woman can seek alimony from her ex-husband after divorce, under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

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Tanya Savkoor
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The Supreme Court of India observed on July 10 that a Muslim woman can seek alimony from her ex-husband after divorce, under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The bench comprising Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih ruled that the law for seeking maintenance applies to all married women, irrespective of their religion. The Court also said that alimony is not a charity but a fundamental right reinforcing the principle of gender equality and financial security for all married women.

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Financial Security Of Women

The Supreme Court asserted that every married woman, including homemakers, is entitled to financial security. The bench stated that homemakers must be given the right to hold joint accounts and access to ATMs. The Court noted that it is time for Indians to recognise the role played by homemakers in the family.

Justice Nagarathna said, “Some husbands are not conscious of the fact that the wife, who is a homemaker, is dependent on them emotionally and in other ways. The time has come when the Indian man must recognise a homemaker’s role and sacrifice," as she highlighted the necessary measures.

"We highlight the necessity for husbands to provide financial support to their wives... practical measures such as maintaining joint bank accounts and sharing ATM access to ensure economic stability for women within the household," the court said, according to a report in The Mint.

The Court was hearing a petition by Mohd Abdul Samad, who was directed by a family court to pay a monthly allowance of ₹20,000 to his divorced wife. Samad challenged this ruling in the Telangana High Court, which modified the amount to ₹10,000. He then approached the Supreme Court

His counsel argued that divorced Muslim women can seek recourse to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 Act. Amicus Curiae Gaurav Agarwal countered that the personal law does not take away a woman's entitlement to relief under the gender-neutral CrPC.

According to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act of 1986, women can only ask for maintenance during the iddat period, a period of 90 days after a divorce. However, the latest ruling states that Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code applies to every individual, regardless of their religion. 

Muslim Women divorce Alimony
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