Supreme Court’s alimony verdict sparks joy among Muslim women

Udham Singh Nagar/New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a divorced Muslim woman can seek alimony from her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — the law related to the maintenance of wives.

Following the landmark verdict by the country’s highest court, triple talaq crusader Shayara Bano expressed satisfaction that it will bring benefits to divorced Muslim women. Bano serves as the Vice-Chairperson of the Uttarakhand State Women’s Commission and herself has experienced the repercussions of triple talaq.

In 2016, Bano approached the Supreme Court to challenge the practice, a struggle that resulted in a favourable verdict in 2017. Subsequently, in 2018, the country enacted legislation outlawing triple talaq, enabling legal action against those who pronounce it, including imprisonment.

In an interview with IANS, Bano emphasised that the Supreme Court’s verdict is beneficial for all Muslim women. She highlighted that this decision will positively impact their financial stability and reduce instances of arbitrary triple talaq, thereby elevating the social standing of Muslim women.

Bano recalled how her husband divorced her abruptly through a speed post without any justification. He worked as a property dealer while she was a homemaker. Throughout her ordeal, she found support from her relatives. She courageously filed a petition against triple talaq in the Supreme Court, ultimately achieving justice. With the enactment of laws prohibiting triple talaq, Muslim women are now empowered to seek legal recourse for themselves.

Following the implementation of the triple talaq law, Bano was appointed as the Vice-Chairperson of the Uttarakhand State Women’s Commission, where she remains dedicated to advancing women’s rights and empowerment. She has been actively advocating for the rights and dignity of women who have been victimised.

Bano mentioned that in cases of women facing oppression, she endeavours to facilitate dialogue between both parties to foster mutual understanding.

Local women have also expressed their satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s decision, noting that it is likely to reduce occurrences of triple talaq. Previously, it had become somewhat commonplace for men to initiate divorces following extramarital affairs, trivialising the process. However, following the court’s ruling, there is optimism within the Muslim community that such instances will decline.

Another woman emphasised that post-divorce, husbands should be obligated to provide financial support to their wives, considering women are responsible not just for their own expenses but also for their children’s welfare. This measure, she believes, would alleviate some of the financial burdens on women and potentially reduce divorce rates.

Importantly, the Supreme Court has clarified that the law regarding maintenance applies to all married women, regardless of their religious affiliation. Section 125 stipulates that individuals with sufficient means cannot evade their responsibility to provide maintenance to their wives, children, or parents.

The court emphasised that maintenance is not an act of charity but a fundamental right of married women. It said, “This right transcends religious boundaries, reinforcing the principle of gender equality and financial security for all married women.”


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