The Delhi High Court has rejected a Muslim man's plea that he
could not be forced to pay maintenance to his former wife under
the domestic violence law as it did not apply to Muslims.
The court disagreed with Syed Mohammed Nadeem's plea that the
domestic violence law did not apply to Muslims as they have a
separate Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986,
to look after the needs of divorced women.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, in an order given June 15, dismissed
his claim that his ex-wife's plea for maintenance could not be
entertained as it was filed after their divorce.
The court told Nadeem to pay Rs.8,000 per month as interim
maintenance to his ex-wife, with effect from March 2011.
The court refused to grant stay on its earlier order directing him
to pay her maintenance.
Nadeem failed to satisfy the court by citing judgments from
different high courts.
"No case for granting interim stay is made out," the court said.
Nadeem submitted before the court that the Protection of Women
from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Section 23 (power to grant
interim and ex-parte order) regarding maintenance would not be
applicable to Muslims owing to Sections 3 and 4 of the Muslim
Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
He contended that after their divorce, he and his wife could not
be said to be in a domestic relationship as defined under the
domestic violence law.
Disagreeing with him, Justice Endlaw said: "I do not find any
merit in the above submission. The definition of 'aggrieved
person' in clause (a) and (f), respectively, of Section 2 of the
domestic violence act uses the expression 'is, or has been, in a
domestic relationship' and 'who live or have, at any point of
time, lived together in a shared household'."
"The said words are wide enough to cover even divorced couples,"
said the court.
The judge also gave its finding that the Muslim women act would
not come in the way of applicability of the provisions of the
domestic violence act on Muslims.
"However, the said aspect also requires further consideration,"
said the court, issuing notice to the Delhi government seeking its
response by July 18.
Nadeem had sought quashing of a complaint filed by his ex-wife
under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005,
and a court order passed March 1 directing him to pay an interim
maintenance of Rs.8,000 per month to her.