While considering the scope of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a division bench comprising of Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant, JJ, of the Honourable Supreme Court held that, right to maintenance of a wife as guaranteed under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is an absolute right and the same is applicable to Muslim women as well.
While delivering the judgment court ruled that, as long as the husband is physically fit to support himself and earn his livelihood, husband is under a legal obligation to provide maintenance to his wife. Apex court further clarified that; right to maintenance under Section 125 of Cr.PC cannot be restricted to a Muslim (divorced) woman, as long as she did not remarry.
In this regard, court relied upon its earlier judgment Shabana Bano v. Imran Khan1. Court further relying upon the same judgment held that, the amount of maintenance to be awarded under Section 125 Cr.PC cannot be restricted for the iddat period only.
Court emphasised the importance of Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, that, the purpose of above mentioned Section is that, even after the divorce, a women can live with dignity, in the same way as she would have lived in her matrimonial home.
However, the benefit of Section 125 will be available only till she remains unmarried after the divorce. Court further observed that, common pleas in almost all the cases under Section 125 like; he does not have the means to pay, for he does not have a job or his business is not doing well, are only bald excuses and they have no acceptability in the eye of law.
Read the complete judgment on Shamima Farooqui v. Shahid Khan, decided on April 6, 2015 (Supreme Court)
-  1 SCC 666 [↩]