Case Summary: Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum


This post has been written by Parishkriti Atri, a first year law student pursuing LL.B. (H) from Amity Law School, Noida.

Court: Supreme Court of India

Case Title: Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum

Date of Judgement: 23 April, 1985

Number of Judges: Five

Bench: Y. V Chandrachud, D.A Desai, O.Chinnappa Reddy, E.S Venkataramiah, Rangnath Misra

Acts: Code Of Criminal Procedure,1973. 

The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937

Citations: 1985 AIR 945 1985 SCR (3) 844 1985 SCC (2) 556 1985 


Advocate Mohammed Ahmad Khan and Shah Bano were married in 1932 and had three sons and two daughters in the marriage. After marrying his second wife, Ahmed Khan asked Shah Bano to move to a separate residence.

In 1978 Shah Bano filed a petition in court demanding maintenance from her husband. Khan had divorced her through the irrevocable process of triple talaq. 

Section 125 of CRPC provides for the provision of maintenance of wife during the marriage or after divorce if she is not able to sustain herself. However Khan argued that the Muslim personal Law of India requires the husband to provide maintenance only till the Iddat period after divorce.

Iddat is the period Of chastity which a Muslim woman has to go through after death of the husband or divorce to ascertain whether the woman is pregnant or not and to acknowledge the certainty of paternity.

This argument by Khan was supported by orthodox Muslims, including the all India Muslim personal Law board who reiterated that the Indian justice system does not have the right to interfere in the matters of Muslim Personal law.

They claimed that This interference would be in violation of The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. 


  1. Applicability of section 125 of CRPC on Muslims.
  2. Payment of Meher alone as maintenance.
Also Read:  Call for Blogs: All India Legal Forum, submit on Rolling Basis, No Fees


The court quoted the case of Bai Tahira v. Ali Hussain Fidaalli Chothia To establish the fact that payment of Mehr does not reduce the liability of a husband to pay the maintenance of a divorced wife.

Mehr or Dower is an obligation of the husband and the legal right of the wife in which The husband has to pay some amount to the wife as consideration in the marriage.

Thus, a Muslim divorced wife is entitled to maintenance by her husband, And this extends the period of Iddat if the wife is unable to maintain herself.

The court announced that section 125 of CRPC is applicable on all citizens irrespective of their religion, and in case of a clash between personal laws And provisions of section 125, CRPC would be given dominance.


Image Source: Here


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