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Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Muslim Divorce Act |

Highlights of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act was enacted by govt to dilute the effect of Supreme Court Judgment in the famous Shah Bano case (1985). In that case the SC held that every divorced woman has right to maintenance under section 125 of CrPC irrespective to her caste, religion or creed if she is unable to maintain herself after divorce. The some feature of Islam religion such as Polygamy, Triple Talaq and Right to divorce by Men are in violation of the Human rights and position of woman in Islamic society is downgraded in course which is now a debatable issue from many decades.

Definitions (Section 2)

  • Iddat Period – in case of a divorced woman, Iddat Period means a) 3 menstruation cycles or courses if subject to mensuration , b) 3 lunar months after date of divorce if not subject to mensuration and c) the period b/w divorce and delivery of child or termination of her pregnancy whichever is earlier.
  • Mahr (Dower) – The mandatory amount of money paid by man to woman at time of marriage.
  • Magistrate – a magistrate of first class exercising jurisdiction in area where divorced woman resides.


Section 3

  • The divorced woman shall be entitled to:-
    • An amount equal to sum of Mahr or dower paid at time of marriage;
    • All properties or money given to her relatives/friends/husband/husband relatives  before or after marriage or at time of marriage;
    • A fair and reasonable compensation by her husband within Iddat period;
    • A reasonable compensation for maintenance of children born to her before or after marriage for period of 2yrs from date of birth of child.

If husband refused to pay above compensation on divorce then aggrieved divorced woman can file an application to Magistrate for above entitlements.

  • The Magistrate can pass an order within 30 days of application to husband to pay/deliver such amount of compensation for maintenance or property to divorced woman as considered necessary with regards to standard of living of woman at time of marriage if satisfied that husband of divorced woman has not paid compensation according to provisions of act.
  • If any person fails to comply with the orders of magistrate shall be liable for punishment of penalties as defined in CrPC and imprisonment up to 1yr or until payment of compensation if sooner made.

Section 4-5

  • The Magistrate if satisfied that the divorced woman has not re-married and is not able to maintain herself after Iddat period then he can make a order to her relatives (who are nominee of property of divorced woman after death according to Muslim Law) to pay fair and reasonable maintenance as determined by magistrate having regards to standard of living of woman during period of marriage.
  • Provided that if such woman has children then magistrate shall order only children to pay maintenance charges to her and if children unable to pay then her parents shall pay such maintenance charges or relatives as above described.
  • If any of parents or relatives or children unable to pay or divorced woman has no relatives to pay maintenance charges then magistrate shall pass an order to State Wakf Board to pay such maintenance charges in such periods as may be specified in the order.
  • Section 5If on date of First Hearing, a divorced woman or her former husband declares either jointly or separately that they would prefer to be governed by Section 125 and 127 of CrPC (1973) then Magistrate shall dispose of such application accordingly.

Section 6-7

  • The Central Govt has power to make rules to carry provisions of this act with prior approval of both houses of Parliament.
  • Every pending application by a divorced woman , under section 125 and 127 of CrPC (1973), shall be subjected to section 5 of this act on commencement of this act and dispose by Magistrate in accordance with provisions of this act.
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