Shabana Bano v. Imran Khan

Case nameShabana Bano v. Imran Khan 
CitationAIR 2010 SC 305, (2009) 1 SCC 666
Year of the case 4 December 2009
Appellant Shabana Bano
Respondent Imran Khan 
Bench B. Sudershan Reddy, Deepak Verma
Important Provisions Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973(CrPC)

Abstract

The Indian legal structure can also be known as ‘a lawyer’s paradise’, predominantly the region of personal law. India being a diverse country and taken together with the customs intricate around the country in different regions has demonstrated over and over that law needs to simplify to make a better delivery of justice.

In the case study mentioned on the basis of judgments given by the Supreme Court of India, we have tried to abridge the Muslim personal law, chiefly the provisions of maintenance.

Introduction

The hue and cry of the Muslim society after the renowned Shah Bano case[1], made the Central Government frame Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. This Act shaped a statutory obligation upon the husband and families of the Muslim divorced women to provide her with maintenance, in case she is incapable of sustaining by herself[2]. The accurate interpretation of the Act provides that, the divorced women are eligible for maintenance within the ‘iddat period[3].Further the Apex Court in Danial Latifi case[4]held that Muslim husbands have to make rational and equitable provisions for the future of the wife he is divorcing within the ‘iddat period’ itself.

Now Shabana Bano vs Imran Khan[5], is a landmark judgement which was pronounced by the Supreme Court of India comprising of 2 Judges, namely: B. Sudershan Reddy and Deepak Verma on 4th December 2009 took it further and raised the question of whether Muslim divorced women are entitled to maintenance even after ‘iddat period’ or not and can the claim it under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.

Background of the Case

The case was an appeal after its past judgement of Family Courtand the High Court. The Family Court partially permitted the appellant’s appeal as-

  • The respondent shall be paying Rs.2000/- per month as alimony to the petitioner from 26.4.2004, date of institution of the petition to the date of divorce, i.e. 20.8.2004 and then after from 20.8.2004 to the period of iddat and,
  • The respondent will be paying for the cost of the suit of both parties.

This case was then appealed to the High Court for revision which was dismissed by the high court on the technical ground that, the Family Court Act, 1984[6], which confer jurisdiction on the family court over district court and subordinate civil courts has to be interpreted in a restricted manner.

The Supreme Court accepted the appeal moved by the Appellant and overturned the reasonings given by the High Court. In reference to the Iqbal Bano judgment[7] the Apex Court stated that proceeding under Section 125 CrPC is civil in nature and is completely on the discretion of the court to treat the application under this Section like any other petition under the Act.

Facts of the Case

  1. The Appellant Shabana Bano was wedded to the respondent Imran Khan according to Muslim rituals at Gwalior in the month of November in 2001.
  2. The appellant claimed that her husband and his family treated her with cruelty as the demanded more dowry even when at the time of marriage, necessary household goods to be used by the couple were given.
  3. Later on, the appellant became pregnant and was taken to her parents’ house by the respondent where she gave birth to the child. Respondent told her to come after the dowry demands are met.
  4. The appellant was then constrained to file a petition under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. against the respondent in the Court of the Family Judge, Gwalior, claiming a sum of Rupees 3000 a month as maintenance as he was not taking any responsibility even after the birth of the child.
  5. The respondent opposed that the appellant had been divorced on August 20th, 2004, in accordance with Muslim Law. Thus, under the provisions of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, the appellant is not eligible for any alimony after the divorce and after the expiry of the iddat period.
  6. The Family Court ordered that the respondent shall pay Rupees 2000 a month as maintenance to the petitioner from April 26th, 2004 to August 20th, 2004, and thereafter from August 20th, 2004 to the period of iddat.
  7. Then the appellant appealed for revision in Hight Court where it was rejected.
  8. The appellant moved to the supreme court where it as accepted.

Issues Involved

In any case, a Muslim divorced wife would be eligible to collect the amount of maintenance from her divorced husband under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. and, if yes, then by which forum?

Related Provisions

Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973(CrPC): Order for maintenance of wives, children and parents. In case his wife is unable to maintain herself, “wife” includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.

Section 20 of the family Act: which makes the situation crystal clear that the provisions of the Act shall have an overriding effect on all other enactments in force dealing with the issue of maintenance,

Arguments Advanced

In this case, the petitioner contended that even after giving dowry at the time of marriage her husband and his family were asking for more money and treated her with cruelty. Then sent her to her parents’ home where she delivered the baby and asked her husband for maintains which he did not give. It was claimed by the appellant that the respondent has been making a sum of Rs. 12,000/- per month by doing some private work and she had no money to maintain herself and her new-born child. Thus, she demanded a sum of Rs.3000/- per month from the respondent towards maintenance.

The respondent denied all the contents of the petition filed by the appellant under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. Objections were raised by the respondent that the appellant has already been divorced on 20.8.2004 in accordance with Muslim Law. Thus, under the provisions of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as `Muslim Act’), the appellant is not entitled to any maintenance after the divorce and after the expiry of the iddat period. He also contended that the appellant herself is earning Rs.6,000/- per month by giving private tuition and is not dependent on the income of the respondent, thus, she is not entitled to any maintenance. It was also contended by the respondent that the appellant had gone to her parental home on her own free-will and accord, after taking all the jewelry and a sum of Rs.1000/- and despite notice being sent, she has not returned to her matrimonial home. Thus, for all these reasons, she is not entitled to receive any amount of maintenance.

Judgement

The Court observed that Section 5 of the Muslim Women Act deals with the possibility to be governed by the provisions of Section 125-128 of the Cr.P.C.Section 7(1)(f) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 provides Family Courts with the authority to try suits or proceedings for maintenance. Also, Section 20 of the Family Act provides that the Act shall have a superseding effect on all other enactments in force dealing with this matter. Thus, a Family Court recognized under the Family Act shall entirely have jurisdiction to arbitrate upon the claims filed under Section 125 of Cr.P.C.

Proceedings under Section 125 Cr.P.C. are civil in nature.The Court noticed that there was a divorced woman in the case in question; still, it was open to accepting the petition under the Act bearing in mind the beneficial character of the legislation. The appellant’s petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C. would be sustainablein front of the Family Court as long as the appellant does not remarry. The sum of maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 Cr.P.C. cannot be delimited to the iddat period only. The Family Act being a beneficial piece of legislation, the benefit thereof must be given to the divorced Muslim women. Thus, the matter was remanded to the Family Court, Gwalior for its disposal on merits in accordance with the law. Even if a Muslim woman has been divorced, she would be eligible for the  entitlement of maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C, after the expiry of the period of iddat also.

Concepts Highlighted

From this case, it can be inferred that even after a Muslim woman has been divorced, she would be eligible to claim maintenance from her husband under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. after the expiry of period of iddat also.

References

[1] Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum &Ors., MANU/SC/0194/1985.

[2] Section 3, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

[3] Section 2 (b), Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

[4] Danial Latifi&Anr. v. Union of India, MANU/SC/0595/2001.

[5] MANU/SC/1859/2009.

[6] Ss. 7 & 8, Family Court Act, 1984.

[7] Iqbal Bano v. State of U.P.& Anr, MANU/SC/2545/2007.

[8]https://indiankanoon.org/doc/283310/#:~:text=Appellant%20Shabana%20Bano%20was%20married,2001.&text=The%20respondent%20threatened%20the%20appellant,matrimonial%20home%20even%20after%20delivery.

[9] https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/56b48ddd607dba348fff3d80

[10]https://www.academia.edu/14300666/SHABANA_BANO_VS_IMRAN_KHAN_CASE

[11] https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/right-claim-maintenance-2/

[12] https://blog.lawskills.in/2019/09/12/shabana-bano-case-unmasking-the-mystery-of-muslim-personal-law/

Questions

Q1. Are muslim divorced women are entitled to maintenance even after ‘iddat period’?

Q2. Are muslim women entitled to maintenance under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.?

Q3. What does Section 5 of the Muslim Women Act deals with?

Q4. What authority does Section 7(1)(f) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 provides to the Family Courts?

Q5. What is an iddat period?

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