The Delhi High Court has rejected a Muslim man’s plea that he could not be forced to pay maintenance to his former wife under the domestic violence law as it did not apply to Muslims.
The court disagreed with Syed Mohammed Nadeem’s plea that the domestic violence law did not apply to Muslims as they have a separate Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, to look after the needs of divorced women.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, in an order given June 15, dismissed his claim that his ex-wife’s plea for maintenance could not be entertained as it was filed after their divorce.The court told Nadeem to pay Rs.8,000 per month as interim maintenance to his ex-wife, with effect from March 2011.
The court refused to grant stay on its earlier order directing him to pay her maintenance.Nadeem failed to satisfy the court by citing judgments from different high courts.”No case for granting interim stay is made out,” the court said.
Nadeem submitted before the court that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Section 23 (power to grant interim and ex-parte order) regarding maintenance would not be applicable to Muslims owing to Sections 3 and 4 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
He contended that after their divorce, he and his wife could not be said to be in a domestic relationship as defined under the domestic violence law.
Disagreeing with him, Justice Endlaw said: “I do not find any merit in the above submission. The definition of ‘aggrieved person’ in clause (a) and (f), respectively, of Section 2 of the domestic violence act uses the expression ‘is, or has been, in a domestic relationship’ and ‘who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household’.”"The said words are wide enough to cover even divorced couples,” said the court.
The judge also gave its finding that the Muslim women act would not come in the way of applicability of the provisions of the domestic violence act on Muslims.”However, the said aspect also requires further consideration,” said the court, issuing notice to the Delhi government seeking its response by July 18.
Nadeem had sought quashing of a complaint filed by his ex-wife under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and a court order passed March 1 directing him to pay an interim maintenance of Rs.8,000 per month to her.
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