In a significant ruling, the Karnataka High Court has held that a Muslim husband cannot get away from his responsibilities of giving maintenance to his former wife. The high court upheld a family court's verdict directing the man to provide monthly maintenance of Rs 3,000 to his divorced wife.
Ezazur Rehman, the petitioner, had approached the high court against the trial court's order, arguing that he is unable to provide the compensation since he had already given mehr at the time of divorce. He also argued that he needs to look after his second wife and their children.
However, the court observed that in the case of divorce, the matter will not end by just giving mehr. Though the marriage is a contract in Islam and not a sacrament, it creates certain justifiable responsibilities on the male partner, the bench said.
“A Muslim man hurriedly contracting another marriage after pronouncing talaq upon his first wife cannot be heard to say he has to maintain the new spouse and child and thus cannot discharge the maintenance decree,” it said.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the petitioner and ordered that it be given to his divorced wife.
Rehman had married Sayira Banu in 1991. After nine months of marriage, he divorced her by giving Rs 5,000 as mehr. Banu moved a family court seeking compensation, and the court in 2011 ordered Rehman to give Rs 3,000 every month as maintenance to her.
Rehman was put in civil prison in 2014 for non-payment of maintenance and he moved the high court in 2014.