03 May 2020

Family Court has jurisdiction to award permanent alimony to Muslim wife while granting the decree of divorce in her favor

The point to be stressed is that the relief of maintenance whether to the wife or the children is incidental to the relief of 'dissolution of marriage'. Merely because 'The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939', does not mention that the Court is also having the jurisdiction or power to grant such relief, it cannot be said that the Court is not having the jurisdiction to grant it, if it is incidental, claimed and the Court finds it necessary to grant the same. Moreover, the right of maintenance given to wife and the minor children under the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, is in addition to the right, which the minor children are having under Muslim Law to get maintenance from the father.
The law expects that the parties should not be driven to approach the different forums but in one forum itself they should be granted whatever reliefs to which they are entitled.[Para No.56]
The provision for permanent alimony is incidental to the granting of a decree or judicial separation, divorce or annulment of marriage. In other words, the relief of permanent alimony is a relief incidental to the granting of the substantive relief by the Court in the main proceeding.[Para No.79]

   The right of maintenance and right in the matrimonial property are the consequences of the marriage or its dissolution. Those reliefs are incidental to the main relief of 'dissolution of marriage' and therefore, these reliefs are very much an integral part of the decree of 'dissolution of marriage'. The Law contemplates that the husband has two separate and distinct obligations; (I) to make "reasonable and fair provision" for his divorcee wife and (ii) to provide "maintenance" for her. The obligation to make a reasonable and fair provision for the divorced wife is not restricted until the divorced wife remarries. It is within the jurisdiction of the Family Court to pass an order for a lump sum amount to be paid to the wife in discharge of the obligation of the husband under Section 3(1)(a) of the Act, 1986 and such order cannot be modified upon remarriage of the divorced Muslim wife.
   The provision for permanent alimony is incidental to the granting of a decree or judicial separation, divorce or annulment of marriage.
   When the Family Court makes an order of permanent alimony or for one time payment in the proceedings instituted by the wife for divorce, it is not founded on any stipulation that any part of the sum would be refunded either in whole or in part. Such sum is not granted on the condition against remarriage for all times to come or for any particular period. It is something different from the obligation to her husband to maintain his divorced wife for his life or until remarried. The permanent alimony in a way is an estimated sum in lump sum to discharge the husband from her future liabilities unconditionally.[Para No.80]

Gujarat High Court

Tarif Rashidbhai Qureshi
Asmabanu Alimohmmad Idarbhai Qureshi

Decides on 19/03/2020

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