In a major decision, the Karnataka High Court has held that though marriage is a contract in Islam and not a sacrament, the husband cannot get away from his responsibilities of giving maintenance to his former wife.
A bench, headed by Justice Krishna S. Dixit, gave the ruling on October 7, rejecting Ezazur Rehman’s petition questioning the family court order to provide monthly maintenance of Rs 3,000 to his divorced wife.
The bench had observed that Muslim marriage is a contract, and a couple enter into wedlock according to the agreement between two families. In case of divorce, the husband will not get away from his responsibilities, and the matter will not end by just giving ‘Mehr’.
It (the marriage) creates certain justifiable responsibilities on male partner, and the wife, who will have no income and faces financial distress, needs compensation, the court observed.
It also cited the Quran and Hadis (Islamic tradition) which say that if the wife is not going to be married or helpless, compensation should be given.
The bench had rejected the argument of the husband that since he had already given Mehr at the time of wedding, it is not possible for him to give compensation now. He had also argued that he needs to look after the expenses of his second wife and their children.
Terming the argument against morality, it slapped a Rs 25,000 fine and ordered that it should be given to his divorced wife.
Rehman had married Sayira Banu in 1991. After nine months, he had given her Rs 5,000 as Mehr and divorced her.
In 2002, she had filed a civil petition seeking compensation from her former husband. The family court had, in 2011, ordered Rehman to give Rs 3,000 every month as maintenance to his divorced wife. He had then appealed in the High Court.