Triple Talaq Landmark Case
Judges on Bench: Y.V Chandrachud, D.A Desai, O.Chinnappa Reddy, E.S Venkataramiah,
Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs Shah Bano Begum is a landmark lawsuit dealt with the "Triple Talaq
Verdict". This case is normally known as the "Shah Bano Case". It is considered to be a very
debatable legal contest in India. This lawsuit has proved to be a milestone in the struggle of
rights, freedom for the Muslim women.
This case is all about Shah Bano's fearless and valiant struggle against the system of Triple
Talaq. Instead of creating a history or story of a suppressed woman who faced the
embarrassment of the community and her husband. Even though she was facing such a
drastic situation in her life she elected to struggle against her husband and faced the world
where everyone was in favor of her husband, and above all this she bravely decided to fight
against the male-dominated society. She fought against the system of Triple Talaq and was
able to achieve what she wanted and has altered the system eternally.
The facts of this case are given below:-
In 1932, Shah Bano was married to Mohd. Ahmad khan, a renowned lawyer in Indore.
They were the parents of 5 children i.e., 3 sons and 2 daughters.
After 14 yrs. of their marriage Shah Bano's husband married another woman who was young
She was thrown out from her matrimonial home along with her children at the age of 62.
In April 1978, she brought an appeal under Sec.125 of the code of criminal procedure, in the
presence of the judicial magistrate of Indore after she was thrown away from her matrimonial
home by her husband.
Shah Bano filed this suit in 1978 because her husband had forsaken her from the
maintenance of Rs. 200 per month which he guaranteed to give.
A wife who is without any income and is neglected by her husband is entitled to
maintenance, which includes a divorced wife who is not remarried.
In Nov. 1978, he divorced his wife Shah Bano by uttering "Triple Talaq" which was
The argument between Shah Bano's children and her husband's other wife were vital reasons
or grounds on which divorce was relinquished and furnished.
After pronouncing the irrevocable Triple Talaq, he took a safeguard that since because of
this divorce she has been terminated to be her legal wife.
The local court ( magistrate) directed Mohd. Ahmed to furnish her Rs. 25 per month as a
form of maintenance.
Apart from this, Shah Bano in July 1908, made a plea to the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
to alter the amount of maintenance to Rs.179 per month.
Shah Bano's precedent went to the Supreme Court and a petition was filed against the verdict
of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.
Her husband's essential argument after the divorce was that he cannot keep any form of
alliance or connection with his divorced wife because it is not allowed in the Islamic laws and
is "Haram" & hence he is not legally responsible to maintain her wife.
Issues Raised In This Case:-
•If Section 125 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure is concerned with Muslims or not.
• If the amount given by the husband on divorce is adequate to get the husband rid and is
liable to maintain his wife or not.
• In case Uniform Civil Code applies to all religions or not.
The verdict of this case was conveyed by C.J, CHANDRACHUD.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat ulema-e-Hind were the two Muslim
Bodies accompanied as an intervenor in the lawsuit.
On 3rd Feb. 1981, Supreme Court gave a harmonious conclusion in this case and banished
the plea of Mohd. Ahmad Khan and validate the verdict of the High Court.
In this case the Supreme Court held that the responsibility of Muslim husband towards her
divorced wife is limited to the extent of “Iddat" period.
According to the Supreme Court this rule was against the Muslim's humanity or was wrong
because here a divorced wife was not in a condition to maintain herself.
But,at the end, after a very long procedure the court finally concluded that the legal liability
of the husband will come to an end if the divorced wife is competent to maintain herself.
And this situation can be reversed in the case when the wife is not able to finance or
maintain herself after the Iddat period, she will be entitled to receive the alimony under
Section 125 of CrPc.
In the case of Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs Shah Bano Begum, the Supreme Court specifically
underlined that the Triple Talaq cannot take away the maintenance right of a divorced
Muslim woman who is not in a condition to take care of herself or her children when she is
disowned or divorced by her husband. The verdict faced a lot of criticism. At that point of
time Muslim women whether married or unmarried were not given freedom even they were
debarred from their basic freedom, which is against humanity. Muslim women were
backward in their status as compared to other women of the world. They were not allowed to
get education and become self-reliant as compared to other women. They faced serious issues
and problems which led to the decrease in their level of self-confidence and their knowledge
in various aspects. Since they faced all these things from their very childhood it was very
natural that they, in their difficult time cannot earn their living or can maintain themselves so
for them alimony or maintenance was much needed.
This case was a normal case of maintenance and also the verdict concluded by the Supreme
Court was also similar to the previous lawsuits but the naked truth that was witnessed in this
case made this case a landmark judgement case and the naked truth was criticized.
This was the case of a Triple Talaq verdict which according to me was a historic verdict as it
upholds the truth and faith of the people in the judiciary because in this case, "Justice and
equality has overcome religion". According to me this lawsuit was courageous, bold,
impartial and obviously a unique decision. This judgement put more emphasis on the
importance of maintenance which should be provided to the divorced Muslim women who
are not in the condition to earn and to take care of themselves.
Even though the verdict of Shah Bano case given by the Supreme Court was invalidate by the
endorsement of Muslim Women Act, the court held in further verdict's that divorced. The
Supreme Court even though after dirty politics passed the judgement that was impartial and at
last it had maintained the trust and faith of citizens in the judiciary.
AIR 1985 SCR (3) 844.
Section 125 of Code Of Criminal Procedure,1973.
A wife who is without any income, has no source of income is neglected by her husband is
entitled to maintenance, which includes a divorced wife who is not remarried.
Aqil Ahmad,Mohammedan Law236-238 (26TH ed..2016).
Aqil Ahmad,Mohammedan Law238-239 (26THed. 2016).
credit: Nandini Gupta
clg name: lloyd law college