Muslim women also have the right to alimony, joint accounts and ATM access, SC told how they will get equal status

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read
Muslim women also have the right to alimony, joint accounts and ATM access, SC told how they will get equal status

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday made an important comment on the importance of the role of domestic women in the family. The court said that practical steps need to be taken for the economic stability of women. The court said that now the time has come for Indian men to understand the role of a housewife. The bench of Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih said this when a Muslim woman demanded alimony. The court said that any married woman is entitled to demand alimony from her husband in case of separation. Religion does not matter in such cases.

From joint accounts to ATM access for wives
The court said that husbands should provide financial support to their wives. Explaining the method for this, it said that husbands should open a joint account. Apart from this, the wife should be given an ATM card and access to the account should be given. This will bring financial stability in her life and she will feel respected at home. The bench said that Muslim women also come under the purview of Section 125. This section deals with the legal right of the wife to alimony. The bench stressed that alimony is not a donation, but a right of every married woman and all married women are entitled to it, irrespective of their religion.

'Any divorced woman is entitled to get alimony'
The Supreme Court dismissed the petition of Mohammed Abdul Samad challenging the order of the Telangana High Court. The High Court had rejected Samad's request to interfere with the decision of the Family Court regarding alimony. Samad had argued that a divorced Muslim woman is not entitled to alimony under Section 125 of the CrPC. The court will have to apply the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

What is the whole matter?
The apex court had reserved its verdict in the case on February 19 after hearing the arguments of petitioner's counsel Wasim Qadri. Qadri had argued that the 1986 law is more beneficial for Muslim women than Section 125 of the CrPC. On December 13, 2023, the Telangana High Court did not stay the family court's decision to grant interim alimony to Samad's wife. However, it reduced the alimony amount from Rs 20,000 to Rs 10,000 per month, to be paid from the date of filing the petition.

NCW chief calls decision historic
National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma welcomed the Supreme Court's landmark judgement affirming the right of Muslim women to seek alimony. She said the verdict is an important step towards ensuring gender equality and justice for all women, regardless of their religion. “It reinforces the principle that no woman should be left without support and protection under the law. The commission is committed to advocating for women's rights and ensuring that every woman in India gets justice,” she said.

This decision has eliminated one of the biggest threats to the Constitution: BJPThe BJP on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court's verdict that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to alimony from her husband. BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said the Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to enact a law to overturn the Supreme Court's verdict granting alimony to divorced Muslim women was the biggest threat to the Constitution as it gave priority to Sharia and Islamic laws. “Whenever the Congress has been in power, the Constitution has been in danger. This (Rajiv Gandhi government's) decision was one such decision that gave priority to Sharia over the Constitution. The Constitution's prestige was tarnished during the Congress government, which has been restored by this verdict. This verdict has eliminated one of the biggest threats to the Constitution,” he said. The Supreme Court had in 1985 accepted the plea of ​​a woman seeking alimony from her husband after divorce in the Shah Bano case. However, following protests from orthodox Muslim groups, the then Congress government had passed a law in Parliament to overturn the verdict. Trivedi said that the Supreme Court has now given a big relief to Muslim women. He said that this should be seen above the matter of religion, because it is an issue of equal rights.

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