A divorced Muslim woman may claim alimony from her husband under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Supreme Court ruled today. A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih dismissed a Muslim man’s appeal contesting a CrPC order directing him to pay maintenance to his divorced wife.

“We are hereby dismissing the criminal appeal with the major conclusion that Section 125 would be applicable to all women and not just married women,” the justices said. Justices Nagarathna and Masih issued distinct but contemporaneous judgments.

The bench made it plain that the legislation for demanding maintenance applies to all married women, regardless of faith.

The court ruled that maintenance is a right of married women rather than a charitable act. Justice Nagarathna stated emphatically, “Some husbands are unaware that the wife, who is a housewife, is emotionally and financially dependent on them. The time has come for Indian men to understand and appreciate the role and sacrifice of homemakers.”