MAINTENANCE UNDER MUSLIM LAW
The idea of Maintenance in Muslim law was established to give support to those individuals who are not competent to maintain themselves. The principle of maintenance consists of the general necessities of a person for survival and includes facilities like education, food, shelter, clothing, and other requirements of life.
Maintenance in Muslim Law
Now the article discusses the parts of maintenance in Muslim law from the opinions of the individuals who are entitled to maintenance. Such persons are:
Children- Both boy and girl
Parents and Grandparents and
Any other relatives
Maintenance for Wife
According to Muslim law in India, maintenance is called ‘Nafqah’. ‘Nafqah’ is the sum that a man spends on his family. The right to maintenance of a Muslim woman is ultimate and not circumstantial on whether she is capable of maintaining herself or not.
Thus, all the Muslim women earning or not earning are entitled to the right to maintenance which is opposite to the majority of the other religious legislations where only dependent women are entitled to the maintenance. It is the obligation and liability of the husband to give sufficient maintenance to his wife in all situations regardless of his financial condition. But, a Muslim woman cannot get maintenance from her husband in the following situations:
She has not acquired puberty.
She has abandoned her husband and marital obligations with adequate reason.
Where she elopes with some other man.
In a case where she disobeys the logical orders of her husband
Quantum of Maintenance
The quantum of maintenance is not provided under any personal law. The court held that the quantum on the grounds of the financial circumstance of husband and wife and any other circumstances is admissible to the case.
The Shia Law sets the quantum of maintenance by keeping the necessities of the wife in mind. The Shafei Law describes the quantum of maintenance by the post of the husband. Thus, the grounds of determination of quantum of maintenance vary from several sub-castes of Muslims.
Maintenance under Anti- Nuptial Agreements
A Muslim marriage is formed as a contract, an agreement that is done among the parties to the marriage (nikah) which specifies the duties and rights of both husband and wife. As per this agreement, the wife can set down some conditions for the husband, and in case he disobeys such conditions; she has a right to live individually and is also entitled to receive maintenance.
The quantum of the maintenance and the conditions are to be settled and agreed upon during the time of marriage itself. The wife can prescribe the contract of the marriage in case the husband takes a second wife or keeps a concubine/ill-treats her. In such situations, she has the right to live individually from her husband and she is also entitled to claim maintenance against the husband. But it has to be observed that the husband’s obligation is restricted only till the iddat period and the wife can claim maintenance only in the period of iddat and not after that.
Maintenance to Muslim Divorced Woman until Her Remarriage
In terms of Section (3) (a) under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, a Muslim husband is accountable to make logical and fair conditions for the future of the divorced wife. This consists of her maintenance as well. As per, the husband has to make reasonable and fair conditions for the maintenance of the wife after the iddat period according to the provisions of Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act.
A divorced Muslim woman who is unmarried and who is unable to maintain herself after an iddat period is entitled to maintenance as per Section 4 of this act from her relatives who are entitled to her property after her death. This has given additional rights to Muslim women.
Maintenance of the Children
Muslim Father is under the obligation to maintain his legitimate child until he acquires the puberty age. Under Muslim Law, the father has to maintain his son only until he reaches the majority. While he has to maintain his daughter until her, she married and till the time she goes to her husband’s home. Under the law, the father is not under an obligation to maintain the illegitimate child.
Thus, after looking at the above-mentioned facts, it can be easily observed that the maintenance provisions under Muslim Law are distinct from other personal laws and are very unique.
Written by Parul Sharma