Mohn. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano case (1985)

Mohn. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano case (1985)




The Shah Bano Case, as it is more often known, involved a contentious maintenance dispute in India, where the Supreme Court rendered a decision in favor of maintenance paid to a Muslim woman who had been divorced and felt wronged.


Shah Bano wed Mohd. Ahmed Khan, a well-known attorney in Indore, in 1932.Three sons and two girls, totaling five children, were born to them. In 1946, after 14 years of marriage, Shah Bano’s husband wed a different, younger woman. Shah Bano was disowned by her husband in 1975 when she was 62 years old and was forced to leave her marital house with their children.

She filed an appeal in April 1978 in front of the Judicial Magistrate of Indore in accordance with Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC).Shah Bano filed this lawsuit in 1978 because her husband had stopped paying her the Rs. 200 per month in maintenance he had promised to provide. By saying “Triple Talaq” to his wife Shah Bano in November 1978, Ahmed Khan granted her an irrevocable divorce. After issuing the irreversible triple Talaq, he took the precaution that since she was no longer her legal wife as a result of the divorce, he was not required to pay her maintenance or alimony. The Local Court ordered Mohd. Ahmed to pay Shah Bano Rs. 25 as maintenance on a monthly basis.

On July 1st, 1980, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh increased the amount of maintenance to Rs. 179.20 per month in response to a revisional appeal by Bano. In his petition for review before the Supreme Court, Ahmed Khan made the case that since maintaining a relationship with his divorced wife after the divorce is “Haram” and prohibited by Islamic law, he is not legally obligated to do so.


1. Whether or not Muslims are covered by section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

2. Whether or not the Mehr awarded by the court upon divorce is sufficient to remove the husband from his obligation to support his wife.

3. Whether or not the Uniform Civil Code is applicable to all religions.


The Supreme Court reached a decision in this matter on February 3rd, 1981, dismissing Mohd. Ahmed Khan’s appeal and upholding the High Court’s decision. The Court ruled that Muslims were not subject to any form of discrimination because Section 125(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure applied to them as well.

According to the Supreme Court, there is no conflict between Section 125’s provisions and the Muslim Personal Law’s regulations about the Muslim husband’s duty to support a divorced wife who is unable to support herself. So in the end, the court determined that if the divorced woman is capable of supporting herself, the husband’s legal responsibility will stop.

Mohn. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano case (1985)
Mohn. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano case (1985)


According to this ruling, a Muslim woman who has been divorced is still entitled to support from her husband after the iddat time has passed under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, was passed by the Central Government in response to the Muslim community’s uproar following the infamous Shah Bano case. Through this law, Muslim divorced women were legally required to get support from their spouses and families if they are unable to maintain themselves. If the Act is read correctly, divorced women are entitled to maintenance during the “iddat period.” Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled that Muslim men must make fair and reasonable accommodations in the Danial Latifi case.

 The Supreme Court of India, which was comprised of two judges, recently handed down a significant decision in the case of Shabana Bano vs. Imran Khan: B. Sudershan Reddy and Deepak Verma went a step further and questioned if Muslim divorced women are entitled to maintenance even after the “iddat time” and can make a claim under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. on December 4th, 2009.

Author: Riya Kore,a Student of A student at DES Navalmal Firodia Law College

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