Muslim marriages are mostly governed by Personal Laws. Their divorce was also governed using the law until the introduction of the Triple Talaq Act which criminalised the instant divorce. Now, a case has come to light where a Muslim woman approached the court seeking alimony under the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Supreme Court today ruled that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to seek alimony from her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This significant judgment was delivered by a bench consisting of Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih, who dismissed a petition by a Muslim man challenging the order to pay maintenance to his divorced wife under the CrPC.

The bench clarified that the law for seeking maintenance applies to all married women, regardless of their religion. Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih delivered separate, but concurrent, judgments to this effect.

“We are hereby dismissing the criminal appeal with the major conclusion that Section 125 CrPC would be applicable to all woman and not just married woman,” reported Bar and Bench quoting Justice Nagarathna.

The petition before the Supreme Court arose from a grievance regarding a maintenance claim filed under Section 125 of the CrPC by a Muslim woman, who was the petitioner’s wife before their divorce. 

The issue originated from a Family Court order directing the petitioner to pay interim maintenance of Rs 20,000 per month. The petitioner challenged this order in the High Court, arguing that the couple had divorced under Muslim personal law in 2017.

The High Court subsequently modified the maintenance amount to Rs 10,000 per month and instructed the Family Court to resolve the case within six months. The matter then reached the Supreme Court.