As a law firm, we would like to express our opinion on Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. This act states that a divorced Muslim mother is entitled to receive maintenance for her children until they attain the age of majority or until she remarries. It’s crucial to note that this provision applies not only to Indian residents but also Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) living outside India.
The legislation was passed by the Indian Parliament in response to growing concerns about the rights and welfare of divorced Muslim women and their children. As per this provision, if a couple has minor children and gets divorced, it becomes the duty of the husband to provide financial support through maintenance payments towards their upbringing and education.
Moreover, Section 4(1) (b) prescribes that such financial assistance for children should be reasonable considering standard of living enjoyed by parties before dissolution. However, there have been instances where ex-husbands refuse or fail to fulfill their obligations in providing maintenance payments for their children post-divorce. In such cases, litigation can arise under appropriate provisions.
In S.R Batra v Taruna Batra[i], it was held that “Section 125 CrPC laid emphasis on providing sustenance independent from any other legal right but these provisions when read with MWP Act intends upon making an independent provision empowering women who are unable otherwise take care of themselves”.
It’s important for NRIs residing outside India who may be subject to similar proceedings under local laws pertaining maintenance/child custody arrangements post-divorce proceedings(such as enforcement under Hague Convention), that compliance with provisions related financial support towards minors in India are enforced fairly rigorously
In additionlly it must be noted , as per The Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act,,2012; And The Criminal Law Amendment Act ,2018,it shall be criminal offense punishable upto life imprisonment if any parent or person related to child is unable to safeguard their children from sexual abuse or engaging in sexual activity with them.
Further, the Supreme Court of India has held that maintenance granted under Section 125 CrPC is a fundamental right and not just a statutory right. In Dwarika Prasad Satpathy vs. Bidyut Prava Dixit[ii], it was stated that “Maintenance awarded under Section 125 CrPC cannot be restricted to food, clothing or shelter only but should extend towards even medical expenses incurred by wife”.
In conclusion, the provision provided under Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 holds significant importance for both Indian residents as well as NRIs residing outside India who may be undergoing divorce proceedings involving minor children. While there have been instances where ex-husbands refuse or fail to provide adequate financial support through maintenance payments post-divorce, compliance with provisions related financial support towards minors in India are enforced fairly rigorously which must ensure prompt assistance and justice delivery system for those aggrieved parties seeking legal remedies towards obtaining such benefits awarded herein.
[i] S.R.Batra v Taruna Batra(2007) SCC/CIV/1005
[ii] Dwarika Prasad Satpathy vs. Bidyut Prava Dixit(1999) SCC/CRIM/407