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Muslim women are entitled to claim maintenance even after the expiry of the iddat period.

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Setting aside the order in a matrimonial dispute, the Allahabad High Court reiterated the law laid down by the Apex Court that a divorced Muslim woman shall be entitled to claim maintenance from her husband under Section 125 Cr.P.C. even after expiry of the period of iddat as long as she does not remarry.

The bench of Justice Karunesh Singh Pawar passed the order on a criminal revision plea filed by one Razia in the year 2008. Taking note of the long pendency, the Court further clarified that the maintenance shall be paid to Razia by her husband from the date of applying Section 125 Cr.P.C.

Razia’s husband had given her divorce in the year 1999. In January 2007, on Razia’s application under section 125 CrPC, after deciding five issues in her favour, the trial Court had awarded the maintenance allowance of Rs.1000 in her favour by her husband. 

However, aggrieved by the order passed by the trial Court, Razia’s husband filed a revision before the court of Additional Sessions Judge, and the ASJ cancelled the maintenance allowance of Rs.1000 awarded in Razia’s favor and maintenance allowance in favor of the couple’s children had been reduced to Rs.250 per month from Rs.500 per month each.

The revisional court had opined that since Razia and her husband both were Muslim, therefore, both were governed by The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 and since a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to get maintenance under Section 3 and Section 4 of the aforesaid Act even after the stage of iddat and therefore she is not entitled to receive maintenance under Section 125 Cr.P.C.

However, the high court rejected this reasoning and referring to the Apex Court judgment in Shabana Bano vs. Imran Khan noted that the provisions under Section 125 Cr.P.C. are a beneficial piece of legislation and the benefit thereof must accrue to the divorced Muslim women. It has also been held that the divorced Muslim women shall be entitled to claim maintenance from her husband under Section 125 Cr.P.C. even after expiry of period of iddat as long as she does not remarry.

While passing the judgment, the Court noticed that the maintenance had been awarded to the revisionist under Section 125 Cr.P.C. from the date of the order, which according to recent judgment in Rajnesh vs Neha and another reported in (2021) 2 SCC 324, should be paid from the date of the application filed under Section 125 Cr.P.C. and therefore, judgment being retrospective in nature is applicable in the present case.

Court further noted that since the trial court had allowed the maintenance to Razia from the date of the order, therefore, referring to the Supreme Court ruling in Rajnesh vs Neha and another (2021), Court modified the Trial Court’s order to the extent her husband shall pay Razia maintenance from the date of filing of the application under Section 125 Cr.PC.

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