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Shah Bano Begum case (1985)

Shah Bano Begum case (1985)


  • Ahmad Khan V/S Shah Bano Begum is a landmark lawsuit which has dealt with the problem of “Triple Talaq Verdict”. This case is normally mentioned as “Shah Bano Case”. It is considered to be a very debatable and problematic legal contest in India. This lawsuit has substantiated to be a milestone in the struggle of rights, freedom for the Muslim women.


  • Mohd Ahmed Khan (the appealing party) who was a lawyer by profession, married to Shah Bano Begum (the respondent) in 1932, had three sons and two daughters from this marriage.
  • In 1975, when Shah Bano’s age was 62 years, she was disowned by her spouse and was tossed out from her marital home together with her children.
  • In 1978, she filed an appeal in the presence of Judicial Magistrate of Indore, because she was abandoned from the maintenance of Rs. 200 per month, which was guaranteed to be provided by him. She demanded Rs. 500 per month as maintenance.
  • Subsequently, the husband gave her irrevocable triple talaq on November 6th, 1978, and used it as a defence to not pay maintenance.  The magistrate, in August 1979, directed the husband to pay an entirety of Rs 25 per month as maintenance.
  • Shah Bano in July 1908 made a plea to the High Court of M.P, to change the sum of maintenance to Rs. 179 each month, and high court increased the maintenance to the said amount i.e. Rs. 179 per month.
  • The same was challenged by the spouse within the Supreme Court as a special leave petition to the High court’s decision.

Judges involved | Shah Bano Begum case (1985) 

  • V Chandrachud, D.A Desai, O.Chinnappa Reddy, E.S Venkataramiah, Rangnath Misra


  • Criminal Procedure Code (II of 1974), Section 125. Whether the “WIFE” definition includes a divorced Muslim woman?
  • Criminal Procedure Code (II of 1974), Section 125. Whether it overrides personal law?
  • Criminal Procedure Code (II of 1974), Section 125. Whether a Muslim husband’s obligation to provide maintenance for a divorced wife is in or not in the conflict between section 125 and Muslim Personal Law?
  • Criminal Procedure Code (II of 1974), Section 127(3) (b). What is the sum payable on divorce? The meaning of Mehar or dower is not summed payable on divorce?

Judgement | Shah Bano Begum case (1985) 

  • The verdict of Shah Bano case was conveyed by C.J, CHANDRACHUD.
  • All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat ulema-e-Hind were the two Muslim Bodies accompanied the lawsuit as an intervenor.
  • On 3rd Feb. 1981, Supreme Court gave an like-minded conclusion in this case and banished the plea of Mohd. Ahmad Khan and validate the verdict of High Court.
  • The court held that Section 125[3]of Code Of Criminal Procedure solicited to Muslims too, without any sought of discrimination.
  • Supreme Court in this case duly held that, since responsibility of Muslim husband towards her divorced wife is limited to the extent of ” Iddat” period , even though this situation does not contemplates the rule of law that is mentioned in Section 125 of CrPc.,1973[4]
  • According to Supreme Court this rule according to Muslim Law was against humanity or was wrong because here a divorced wife was not in a condition to maintain herself.
  • Thus at the end, after very long procedure court finally concluded that the husband is legal liability will come to an end if divorced wife is competent to maintain herself.
  • But this situation will be reversed in the case when wife is not able in a condition to to finance or maintain herself after the Iddat period, she will be entitle to receive maintenance or alimony under Section 125 of CrPc.

Conclusion | Shah Bano Begum case (1985) 

  • Though the court took a long time the decision of rejecting the appeal is very historic because it keeps up the truth and faith of the individuals in the judiciary.
  • This judgment has marked the significance of maintenance which ought to be given to the divorced Muslim women who are not in the condition to earn and maintain themselves.
  • The Shah Bano judgment pulled in a lot of opposition with authoritative bodies being against the decision for the reason of it being against the provisions of Islamic law, but SC passed the impartial judgment and at last, it had maintained the trust and faith of citizens in the judiciary.
  • This lead to enactment of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 which given Muslim women receiving a huge, one-time payment from their husbands amid the period of Iddat, instead of a maximum month to month payment of INR 500 – an upper limit which has since been expelled.



Indian Polity

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