Maintenance Rights of Muslim Women
The right to maintenance is accessible to a Muslim woman under Muslim law even if she quits her husband's culture provided the circumstances justify it.
The right of the woman to maintenance is subject to the condition that she is not'refractory' or refuses to remain with her husband without sufficient cause, according to Ameer Ali's Mohommedan law.
Furthermore, the Magistrate has the authority under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 to impose maintenance in favour of Muslim women whose marriage is still legal.
The Magistrate has the authority to impose maintenance in favour of women under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973. If a husband neglects or refuses to support his wife for no legal reason, the woman may sue him for maintenance.
Section 125 Criminal Procedure Code 1973 empowers the Magistrate to order maintenance in favour of women. If the husband neglects or refuses to maintain his wife without any lawful cause, the wife may sue him for maintenance. She may apply for an order for maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in which case the court may order the husband to pay maintenance.
1. The person must have neglected the claimant or refused to pay maintenance.
2. Persons claiming maintenance must be unable to maintain themselves. If a person is healthy, adequately educated or capable of pursuing gainful employment no maintenance is given. Wives and elderly parents are generally given maintenance.
Section 125 of the code of criminal procedure provides a right to maintenance to all the woman irrespective of caste, religion and creed. Muslim Woman and her children entitled to maintenance u/s 125 CrPC as Section 3(1)(b) of the Muslim Women (Protection of Right on Divorce) Act, 1986 does not affect such right under Section 125 CrPC.The benefit of Section 125 CrPC is available irrespective of religion and it would be unreasonable, unfair and inequitable to deny this benefit to the children only on the ground of their being born of Muslim parents.
Under Muslim law in India, maintenance is known as ‘Nafqah’. ‘Nafqah’ is the amount that a man spends on his family. The right to maintenance of a Muslim woman is absolute and not conditional on whether she can maintain herself or not.
Hence all the Muslim women earning or not earning are eligible for the right to maintenance which is contrary to most of the other religious acts where only dependent women are eligible for the maintenance.
It is the duty and liability of the husband to provide adequate maintenance to his wife in all the circumstances irrespective of his financial condition. However, a Muslim woman cannot claim maintenance from her husband in the following cases:
She has not attained puberty.
She has abandoned her husband and marital duties with sufficient reason.
Where she elopes with some other man.
In a case where she disobeys the reasonable commands of her husband
In terms of Section (3) (a) of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, a Muslim husband is liable to make reasonable and fair provision for the future of the divorced wife.
This includes her maintenance as well. Accordingly, the husband has to make a fair and reasonable provision for the maintenance of the wife beyond the iddat period as per the terms of Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act.
A divorced Muslim woman who has not remarried and who is not able to maintain herself after iddat period can claim maintenance under Section 4 of this act from her relatives who are entitled to her property after her death. This has provided additional rights to Muslim women.