The Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 125(1) deals with the topic of “Who Can Claim Maintenance?” Mohd. Ahmed Khan VS Shah Bano Begum & Ors. Supreme Court of India, Bench: DY CHANDRACHUD – CJI. 1985 AIR 945, 1985 SCR (3) 844.

Facts of the Case: Three boys and two daughters were born to Mohd Ahmed Khan (the appealing party), a lawyer by profession, and Shah Bano Begum (the respondent), whom he married in 1932. Shah Bano was disowned by her spouse in 1975 when she was 62 years old and was forced to leave her marital house with her kids. She filed an appeal in 1978 in front of the Judicial Magistrate of Indore because she had been denied the support of Rs. 200 per month that he had promised to pay for her. She requested Rs. 500 every month as maintenance. On November 6th, 1978, the husband granted her an irrevocable triple talaq and used it as an excuse to stop paying maintenance. In August 1979, the magistrate ordered the husband to provide maintenance of Rs 25 per month. Shah Bano requested in July 1908 that the maintenance amount be changed to Rs. 179 per month in a petition to the High Court of M.P. The High Court enhanced the maintenance to the requested amount, or Rs. 179 per month. The spouse appealed the ruling of the High court in the Supreme Court as a special leave petition.

Judgment: The decision was made by C.J., Y.C. Chandrachud, and Mohd. Ahmed Khan’s appeal was denied. The Supreme Court ruled that Section 125(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure applies to Muslims without any form of discrimination because it applies to all citizens regardless of their religion. In addition, the court ruled that if there is a disagreement between personal law and section 125, section 125 will take precedence. It is made plain that there is no conflict between Section 125’s rules and the Muslim Personal Law regarding the Muslim husband’s need to pay maintenance for a divorced wife who is unable to support herself. During a protracted legal process, the Supreme Court ultimately came to the conclusion that if a divorced wife is competent to support herself, the husbands’ legal duty will stop. The position will be reversed, however, if the woman is unable to support herself after the Iddat term and qualifies for maintenance or alimony under Section 125 of the CrPC.

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