Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs Shah Bano Begum And Ors- (Air 1985 Scr (3) 844) -

Triple Talaq Landmark Case

Judges on Bench: Y.V Chandrachud, D.A Desai, O.Chinnappa Reddy, E.S Venkataramiah,

Rangnath Misra


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

to him.

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.

Critical Analysis:-

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.


[1]AIR 1985 SCR (3) 844.

[2]Section 125 of Code Of Criminal Procedure,1973.

[3]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.

[4]Aqil Ahmad,Mohammedan Law236-238 (26TH ed..2016).

[5]Aqil Ahmad,Mohammedan Law238-239 (26THed. 2016).

credit: Nandini Gupta

clg name: lloyd law college

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