THE MUSLIM WOMEN (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS ON DIVORCE) ACT, 1986

(25 of 1986)(19th May, 1986)

            An  Act to protect the rights of Muslim women  who have  been divorced by, or have obtained divorce  from, their  husbands  and to provide for   matters  connected therewith  or incidental thereto.

              BE it enacted by Parliament in the  Thirty-seventh year  of the Republic of India as follows :

 1.          Short title and extent :

(1)        This   Act    may  be  called  The   Muslim    Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.

(2)         It extends to the whole of India except the  State of Jammu and Kashmir.

 2.          Definitions.  -   In  this  Act,  unless    context otherwise requires :

(a)         "divorced  woman"  means a Muslim  woman   who  was married  according  to Muslim law,  and  has  been divorced  by,   or has obtained  divorce  from,  her husband in accordance with Muslim law :

(b)         "iddat  period" means, in the case of  a  divorced woman, -

            (i)         three  menstrual  courses after the  date   of divorce,  if she is subject to menstruation ;

            (ii)         three lunar months after her divorce,  if she is not subject to menstruation ; and

            (iii)if  she  is  enceinte  at  the  time  of  her divorce,  the period between the divorce  and the delivery of her child or the  termination  of her pregnancy, whichever is earlier.

(c)         "Magistrate" means a Magistrate of the First class exercising jurisdiction under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  (2 of 1974) in the area where the divorced woman resides ;

(d)         "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made  under the Act.

 3.          Mahr  or  other properties of Muslim woman  to  be given    to   her  at  the  time  of  divorce.    -  

(1)         Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for  the  time being in force,  a  divorced  woman shall be entitled to -

            (a)        a   reasonable    and   fair   provision    and maintenance to be made and paid to her within the iddat period by her former husband ;

            (b)        where she herself maintains the children born to  her  before  or  after  her  divorce,    a reasonable and fair provision and maintenance to be made and paid by her former husband for a  period  of two years from   the  respective dates of birth of such children ;

            (c)        an  amount equal to the sum of mahr or  dower agreed   to be paid to her at the time of  her marriage or at any time thereafter  according to Muslim law ; and

            (d)        all the properties  given to her before or at the time of marriage or after her marriage by her  relatives or friends or the  husband  or any relatives of the husband or his friends.

2)          Where   a  reasonable  and  fair   provision    and maintenance   or the amount of mahr or  dower  due has  not  been  made or paid  or    the  properties referred to in clause (d) of sub-section (1)  have not  been  delivered to a divorced  woman  or  her divorce,  she   or any one duly authorised  by  her may,  on  her behalf, make an application  to  the Magistrate  for   an  order  for  payment  of  such provision  and maintenance, mahr or dower  or  the delivery of properties, as the case may be.

3)          Where  an  application has been  made   under  sub-section  (2) by  a divorced woman, the  Magistrate may, if he is satisfied that -

            (a)        her  husband  having  sufficient  means,  has failed or neglected to make or pay her within the  iddat   period   a  reasonable  and  fair provision    and maintenance for her  and  the children ; or

            (b)        the amount equal to the sum of mahr or  dower has  not  been paid or  that   the  properties referred to in clause (d) of sub-section  (1) have not been delivered to her,

make  an order, within one month of the date of  filing of the application, directing her former husband to pay such   reasonable and fair provision and maintenance   to the  divorced  woman  as he may determine  as  fit  and proper  having   regard  to the needs  of  the  divorced woman,   the standard of life enjoyed by her during   her marriage and the means of her former husband or, as the case  may be for the payment of such mahr or  dower  or the  delivery of such properties referred to in clause (d) of sub-section (1) to the divorced woman :

            Provided   that    if  the  Magistrate    finds   it impracticable to dispose of the application within  the said period, he may, for reasons to be recorded by him, dispose of the application after the said period.

4)          If any person against whom an order has been  made under  sub-section  (3) fails  without   sufficient cause to comply with the order, the Magistrate may issue   a  warrant  for  levying  the  amount   of maintenance  or  mahr or dower due in  the  manner provided   for  levying  fines under  the  Code  of Criminal  Procedure,  1973 (2 of  1974),  and  may sentence such person, for the whole or part of any amount remaining unpaid after the execution of the warrant,  to  imprisonment for a   term  which  may extend  to  one year or until   payment  if  sooner made,   subject  to  such  person  being  heard  in defence  and  the  said  sentence  being   imposed according to the provisions of the said Code.

4.          Order for payment of maintenance.-

1)          Notwithstanding   anything    contained   in    the foregoing  provisions of this Act or in any  other law    for  the  time  being  in  force,  where   a Magistrate is satisfied that a divorced woman  has not re-married and is not able to maintain herself after   the  iddat  period, he may   make  an  order directing   such  of  her  relatives  as  would  be entitled  to  inherit her property  on  her  death according to Muslim law to pay such reasonable and fair  maintenance  to her as he may determine  fit and  proper,  having regard to the  needs  of  the divorced   woman, the standard of life  enjoyed  by her  during  her marriage and the  means  of  such relatives and such maintenance shall be payable by such  relatives in the proportions in  which   they would  inherit her property and at such period  as he may specify in his order :

                        Provided  that where such divorced woman  has children,   the  Magistrate shall order  only  such children  to   pay maintenance to her, and  in  the event  of  any such children being unable  to  pay such  maintenance, the Magistrate shall order  the parents of such divorced woman to pay  maintenance to her :

                        Provided  further that if any of the  parents is  unable  to  pay  his  or  her  share  of   the maintenance  ordered  by  the  Magistrate  on  the ground of his or her not having the means  to  pay the  same, the   Magistrate may, on proof  of  such inability   being furnished to him, order that  the share of such relatives in the maintenance  ordered by  him be paid by such of the other relatives  as may appear to the magistrate to have the means  of paying  the  same  in  such  proportions  as   the Magistrate may think fit to order :

2)          Where  a  divorced  woman is  unable  to  maintain herself and she has no relatives, as mentioned  in sub-section  (1) or such relatives or any  one  of them have not enough means to pay the  maintenance ordered by the Magistrate or the other  relatives, have  not   the  means to pay the  share  of  those relatives   whose shares have been ordered  by  the Magistrate   to  be paid by such,  other  relatives under  the second proviso to sub-section (1),  the Magistrate   may, by order, direct the  State  Wakf Board established under section 9 of the Wakf Act, 1954  (29 of 1954) or under any other law for  the time being in force in a State, functioning in the area  in  which  the woman resides,  to  pay  such maintenance  as,  determined  by  him  under  sub-section  (1)  or, as the case may be, to  pay  the shares of such of the relatives who are unable  to pay,  at   such periods as he may  specify  in  his order.

5.          Option to be governed by the provisions of section 125 to 128 of Act (2 of 1974). -

If on the date of the first hearing of the   application under  sub-section (2) of section 3, a  divorced  woman and  her  former husband declare, by affidavit  or  any other  declaration  in writing in such form as  may  be prescribed,  either  jointly or separately,  that  they would  prefer   to  be governed  by  the  provisions  of sections 125 to 128 of the Code of Criminal  Procedure, 1973   (2   of  1974),  and  file  such   affidavit   or declaration  in the court hearing the application,  the Magistrate    shall   dispose   of    such    application accordingly.

            Explanation  - For the purposes of  this  section, "date  of the first hearing of the  application"   means the  date fixed in the summons for the  attendance   of the respondent to the application.

6.         Power to make rules. -1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out  the purposes of this Act.

2)          In    particular  and  without  prejudice  to   the foregoing power such rules may provide for -

                        (a)        the   form    of  the   affidavit    or   other declaration  in  writing to  be  filed  under section 5 ;

                        (b)        the   procedure    to  be  followed    by   the Magistrate in disposing of applications under this Act, including the serving of notices to the  parties to such applications,  dates  of hearing   of  such  applications  and   other matters ;

                        (c)        any  other matter which is required to be  or may be prescribed.

 3)          Every  rule made under the Act shall be laid,  as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period  of thirty days which may be  comprised  in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and    if,  before  the  expiry  of   the   session immediately   following    the   session   or    the modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the  rule  should  not be  made,  the  rule  shall thereafter have effect only in such modified  form or  be  of  no effect, as the  case  may  be;  so, however,   that any such modification or  annulment shall  be   without prejudice to  the  validity  of anything previously done under that rule.

7.          Transitional provisions. -

            Every  application  by  a  divorced  woman   under section  125   or  under  section 127  of  the  Code  of Criminal  Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1984) pending before  a Magistrate  on  the commencement of  this  Act,  shall, notwithstanding  anything  contained in that   Code  and subject to the provisions of section 5 of this Act,  be disposed  of by such Magistrate in accordance with  the provisions of this Act.


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