Litigations and Legislations of Maintenance Rights of Divorced Muslim Women in India: An Overview of the Changing Position
The rules of Muslim law relating to maintenance of divorced Muslim women are unfortunately gravely misunderstood, and have undergone many changes over the years. This paper is an attempt to look at the series of changes which this law has undergone by virtue of enactments and case laws, and to look at what the present position of law is. The paper explains that how initially, there was a conflict between Muslim law and section 125 of Cr.P.C. which is a general law. In this context, the famous Shah Bano case was decided, which became one of the most landmark judgment. In an attempt to resolve the conflict and clarify the position of law, the Supreme Court in this case gave precedence to Cr.P.C. over Personal laws. This, however, was met with a lot of resentment by the Muslim community, and under pressure, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 was passed in order to nullify the effects of the judgment. However, interpreting this Act in Daniel Latifi v.Union of India, the Supreme Court, along with declaring the Act to be constitutionally valid, interpreted the same, and clarified that the position as settled in Shah Bano Case is the correct one, and that, if the true spirit of the Act is looked into, this position shall emerge. However, after passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, the position of maintenance rights of divorced Muslim women remain unresolved. This Act ensures only the amount of subsistence allowance, not maintenance. Thus, this paper attemptsto analyze how litigations and legislations have changed the position of maintenance rights of divorced Muslim women in the context of personal law in India.
Keywords - Litigations, Legislations, Maintenance, Divorced Muslim Women, Changing Position