Though family courts have over the years whittled down the rigour of the law to give relief to divorced Muslim women too, the court’s ruling settles the issue that civil law of the land would prevail over any personal laws.
“There can be no shadow of doubt that an order under Section 125 CrPC can be passed if a person, despite having sufficient means, neglects or refuses to maintain the wife,“ the bench said. “Sometimes, a plea is advanced by the husband that he does not have the means to pay for he does not have a job or his business is not doing well.These are only bald excuses and, in fact, they have no acceptability in law.“
The court said this in a case involving one Shamima Farooqui from Lucknow. She was ill-treated by her husband Shahid Khan, who later remarried. Her application filed in 1998 was taken up in 2012. Khan was a Nayak in the Army who earned `17,654 per month, including perks.The family court initially granted her `2,000 per month and later `4,000 per month after recording that she had no other means of supporting herself.
However, the high court reduced it to `2,000 per month, taking note of the fact that the husband had retired from the Army in 2012. This drew the top court’s ire. “In today’s world, it is extremely difficult to conceive that a woman of her status would be in a position to manage within `2,000 per month… The inherent and fundamental principle behind Section 125 is for amelioration of financial state of affairs…“