Shah Bano a lady from Indore was married to Mohd. Ahmed Khan in 1932. They had five children out of which 3 sons and 2 daughters. After 14 years of marriage Mohd. Ahmed khan married a younger woman. Thereafter, almost 62 year old shah bano was asked to leave her matrimonial home in 1975. Further, her husband promised to pay maintenance of Rs.200 per month in order to look after herself and her children. For almost 2 years Mohd. Ahmed Khan paid maintenance to her at the rate of Rs. 200 per month and then stopped paying her.
In April 1978, Shah Bano filed a petition against the husband under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Code’/ ‘CrPC’) in the court of the learned Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Indore, where she asked for maintenance at the rate of Rs. 500 per month. On November 1978 her husband gave an irrevocable talaq (divorce) to her. His defence was that she had ceased to be his wife by reason of the divorce granted by him and he therefore claimed to be under no obligation maintenance for her. In August, 1979 the learned Magistrate directed appellant to pay a princely sum of Rs. 25 per month to the respondent by way of maintenance. In July, 1980 in a revision application filed by the respondent, the High court of Madhya Pradesh enhanced the amount of maintenance to Rs. 179.20 per month. The husband further filed a Special Leave petition before the Supreme Court. His main contention in appeal was that after divorce any form of relation with the divorced wife is Haram as it is against will of God as well as Islam thus, he is not liable to maintain her.
Supreme Court in a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal of Mohd. Ahmed Khan and confirmed the judgment of the High Court. Supreme Court held that “there is no conflict between Muslim Personal law and provisions of Section 125 on the question of the Muslim husband’s obligation to provide maintenance for a divorced wife who is unable to maintain herself.”
Moreover, court further referred to the Holy Quran where it held that “there was no doubt that the Quran imposes an obligation on the Muslim husband to make provision for or to provide maintenance to the divorced wife.