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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sec.125 Cr.P.C. -vs- Muslim women's Act - pending Divorce was taken place - Wife filed petition for Mehar etc. under Sec.3 of Muslim Women's Act - Magistrate dismissed the M.C. as she failed to prove desertion and allowed petition under Muslim Women's Act - High court ordered maintenance only up to the Divorce in M.C. - Apex court held that The High Court is not correct in opining that when the appellant-wife filed application under Section 3 of the Act, she exercised her option. As the Magistrate still retains the power of granting maintenance under Section 125 of the Code to a divorced Muslim woman and the proceeding was continuing without any objection and the ultimate result would be the same, there was no justification on the part of the High Court to hold that the proceeding after the divorce took place was not maintainable and remanded the matter for fresh disposal = Shamim Bano … Appellant Versus Asraf Khan …Respondent = 2014 ( April.Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41432

       Sec.125 Cr.P.C. -vs- Muslim women's Act - pending Divorce was taken place - Wife filed petition for Mehar etc. under Sec.3 of Muslim Women's Act - Magistrate dismissed the M.C. as she failed to prove desertion and allowed petition under Muslim Women's Act - High court ordered maintenance only up to the Divorce in M.C. - Apex court held that The High Court is not correct in opining that when the appellant-wife filed application under Section 3 of  the  Act,  she exercised her option.  As the Magistrate still retains the power of granting maintenance under Section 125 of the Code  to  a  divorced Muslim  woman  and  the  proceeding  was  continuing  without   any objection and the ultimate result would be the same, there  was  no justification on the part of  the  High  Court  to  hold  that  the proceeding after the divorce took place was not maintainable and remanded the matter for fresh disposal =


whether the appellant’s application for grant of maintenance  under
        Section 125 of the Code is to be restricted to the date of  divorce=
The High Court is not correct in opining that when the
        appellant-wife filed application under Section 3 of  the  Act,  she
        exercised her option.  As the Magistrate still retains the power of
        granting maintenance under Section 125 of the Code  to  a  divorced
        Muslim  woman  and  the  proceeding  was  continuing  without   any
        objection and the ultimate result would be the same, there  was  no
        justification on the part of  the  High  Court  to  hold  that  the
        proceeding after the divorce took place was not maintainable.
          whether
        regard being had to the present fact situation, as observed by  the
        High Court,  the  consent  under  Section  5  of  the  Act  was  an
        imperative to maintain the application.=
Even if an application under Section 3 of  the
        Act for grant of maintenance was filed, the parameters  of  Section
        125 of the Code would have been made applicable.  Quite apart  from
        that, the application for grant of maintenance was filed  prior  to
        the date of divorce and hearing of the application continued.

Coming to the case at hand, it is found that  the  High  Court  has
        held that as the appellant had already taken recourse to Section  3
        of the Act after divorce took place and obtained relief  which  has
        been upheld by  the  High  Court,  the  application  for  grant  of
        maintenance  under  Section  125  of  the  Code   would   only   be
        maintainable till she was divorced.  
It  may  be  noted  here  that
        during the pendency of her application under  Section  125  of  the
        Code the divorce took place.  
The  wife  preferred  an  application
        under Section 3 of  the  Act  for  grant  of  mahr  and  return  of
        articles.  The learned Magistrate, as is seen, directed for  return
        of the articles, payment of quantum of mahr  and  also  thought  it
        appropriate to grant maintenance for the Iddat  period.  
Thus,  in
        effect, no maintenance had been granted  to  the  wife  beyond  the
        Iddat  period  by  the  learned  Magistrate  as  the  petition  was
        different.  
We are disposed to think so as  the  said  application,
        which has been brought on  record,  was  not  filed  for  grant  of
        maintenance.   
That  apart,  the  authoritative  interpretation  in
        Danial Latifi (supra) was not available.  In any case, it would  be
        travesty of justice if the appellant would be made remediless.  Her
        application under Section 125 of  the  Code  was  continuing.   The
        husband contested the same on merits without raising  the  plea  of
        absence of consent.  Even if an application under Section 3 of  the
        Act for grant of maintenance was filed, the parameters  of  Section
        125 of the Code would have been made applicable.  Quite apart  from
        that, the application for grant of maintenance was filed  prior  to
        the date of divorce and hearing of the application continued.

    16. Another aspect which has to be kept uppermost in mind is that  when
        the marriage breaks up, a woman suffers from  emotional  fractures,
        fragmentation of sentiments, loss of economic and  social  security
        and, in certain  cases,  inadequate  requisites  for  survival.   A
        marriage is fundamentally a unique bond between two parties.   When
        it perishes like a mushroom, the dignity of the  female  fame  gets
        corroded.  It is the law’s duty  to  recompense,  and  the  primary
        obligation is that of the  husband.   Needless  to  emphasise,  the
        entitlement and the necessitous  provisions  have  to  be  made  in
        accordance with the parameters of law.

    17. Under these circumstances,  regard  being  had  to  the  dictum  in
        Khatoon  Nisa’s  case,  seeking  of  option  would  not  make   any
        difference.  The High Court is not correct in opining that when the
        appellant-wife filed application under Section 3 of  the  Act,  she
        exercised her option.  As the Magistrate still retains the power of
        granting maintenance under Section 125 of the Code  to  a  divorced
        Muslim  woman  and  the  proceeding  was  continuing  without   any
        objection and the ultimate result would be the same, there  was  no
        justification on the part of  the  High  Court  to  hold  that  the
        proceeding after the divorce took place was not maintainable.

    18. It is noticed that the High Court has been  principally  guided  by
        the  issue  of   maintainability   and   affirmed   the   findings.
        Ordinarily, we would have thought of remanding the  matter  to  the
        High Court for reconsideration from all spectrums but we  think  it
        appropriate that the matter should be heard and dealt with  by  the
        Magistrate so that  parties  can  lead  further  evidence.   Be  it
        clarified, if, in the meantime, the appellant  has  remarried,  the
        same has to be taken into consideration, as has been stated in  the
        aforestated authorities for grant of maintenance.  It would be open
        to the appellant-wife to file a  fresh  application  for  grant  of
        interim maintenance, if so advised.  Be it clarified, we  have  not
        expressed anything on the merits of the case.

    19. In the result, the appeal is allowed and the  impugned  orders  are
        set aside and the matter is remitted to the learned Magistrate  for
        re-adjudication of the controversy in question keeping in view  the
        principles stated hereinabove.



             2014 ( April.Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41432
DIPAK MISRA, VIKRAMAJIT SEN

     IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.820 OF 2014
             (Arising out of S.L.P. (Criminal) No. 4377 of 2012)




      Shamim Bano                             … Appellant


                                   Versus


      Asraf Khan                                   …Respondent












                               J U D G M E N T


      Dipak Misra, J.




            Leave granted.

     2. The appellant, Shamim Bano, and the respondent,  Asraf  Khan,  were
        married on 17.11.1993 according to the Muslim Shariyat law.  As the
        appellant was meted with cruelty and torture by the husband and his
        family members regarding demand of  dowry,  she  was  compelled  to
        lodge a report at the Mahila Thana, Durg, on 6.9.1994, on the basis
        of which a criminal case under Section 498-A read with  Section  34
        IPC was initiated and, eventually, it  was  tried  by  the  learned
        Magistrate at Rajnandgaon who acquitted the accused persons of  the
        said charges.

     3. Be it noted, during the pendency of the criminal case under Section
        498-A/34 IPC  before  the  trial  court,  the  appellant  filed  an
        application under Section 125 of the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure
        (for short “the Code”) in the Court of  Judicial  Magistrate  First
        Class, Durg for grant of maintenance on the ground of desertion and
        cruelty.  While  the  application  for  grant  of  maintenance  was
        pending, divorce between the  appellant  and  the  respondent  took
        place on 5.5.1997.  At that juncture, the appellant filed  Criminal
        Case No. 56 of 1997 under Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection
        of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (for brevity “the Act”) before  the
        learned  Judicial  Magistrate  First  Class,  Durg.   The   learned
        Magistrate, who was hearing the application preferred under Section
        125 of the Code, dismissed the same on 14.7.1999 on the ground that
        the appellant had not been able  to  prove  cruelty  and  had  been
        living separately and hence,  she  was  not  entitled  to  get  the
        benefit of maintenance.  The learned Magistrate, while dealing with
        the application preferred under Section 3 of the Act,  allowed  the
        application directing the husband  and  others  to  pay  a  sum  of
        Rs.11,786/- towards mahr, return of goods and ornaments and  a  sum
        of Rs.1,750/- towards maintenance during the Iddat period.

     4. Being grieved by the order not granting maintenance, the  appellant
        filed Criminal Revision No. 275 of 1999 and  the  revisional  court
        concurred with the view expressed by  the  learned  Magistrate  and
        upheld the order of dismissal.  The aforesaid situation constrained
        the appellant to invoke the jurisdiction of the  High  Court  under
        Section 482 of the code in Misc. Crl. Case No. 188 of 2005.  Before
        the High Court a preliminary objection was raised on behalf of  the
        respondent-husband that the petition under Section 125 of the  Code
        was not maintainable by a divorced woman without complying with the
        provisions contained in Section 5 of the Act.  It was  further  put
        forth that initial action under Section 125  of  the  Code  by  the
        appellant-wife was tenable but  the  same  deserved  to  be  thrown
        overboard after she had filed an application under Section 3 of the
        Act for return of gifts and properties, for  payment  of  mahr  and
        also for grant of maintenance during the ‘Iddat’  period.   It  was
        also urged that the wife was only entitled  to  maintenance  during
        the  Iddat  period  and  the  same  having  been  granted  in   the
        application, which was  filed  after  the  divorce,  grant  of  any
        maintenance did not arise in exercise of power under Section 125 of
        the Code.  Quite apart from the above, both the  parties  also  had
        advanced certain  contentions  with  regard  to  obtaining  factual
        score.

     5. The High Court, after referring to  certain  authorities,  came  to
        hold that a Muslim woman is entitled  to  claim  maintenance  under
        Section 125 of the Code even beyond the period of Iddat if she  was
        unable to maintain herself; that where an application under Section
        3 of the Act had already  been  moved,  the  applicability  of  the
        provisions contained in Sections 125 to 128  of  the  Code  in  the
        matter of claim  of  maintenance  would  depend  upon  exercise  of
        statutory option by the divorced woman and her  former  husband  by
        way of declaration either in the form of affidavit or in any  other
        declaration in writing in such format as has been  provided  either
        jointly or separately that they would be preferred to  be  governed
        by the provisions of the Code; that the applicability  of  Sections
        125 to 128 of the Code would  depend  upon  exercise  of  statutory
        option available to parties under Section 5 of the Act and  as  the
        appellant-wife had taken recourse to the  provisions  contained  in
        the Act, it was to be concluded that she was to be governed by  the
        provisions of the Act;  that  the  claim  of  the  appellant  under
        Section  125  of  the  Code  until  she  was  divorced   would   be
        maintainable but after the divorce  on  filing  of  an  application
        under Section 3 of the  Act,  the  claim  of  maintenance,  in  the
        absence of exercise of option under Section 5  of  the  Act  to  be
        governed by Section 125 of the Code, was  to  be  governed  by  the
        provisions contained in the Act;  that  as  the  application  under
        Section 3 of the Act having already been dealt with by the  learned
        Magistrate and allowed and affirmed by the High Court under Section
        482  of  the  Code,  the  claim  of  the  appellant  for  grant  of
        maintenance had to be  confined  only  to  the  period  before  her
        divorce; and that the courts below had rightly concluded  that  the
        wife was not entitled to maintenance as she had not  been  able  to
        make out a case for grant of maintenance under Section 125  of  the
        Code; and further that the  said  orders  deserved  affirmation  as
        interim  maintenance  was  granted  during  the  pendency  of   the
        proceeding upto the date of divorce.  Being of this view, the  High
        Court declined to interfere with the orders of the courts below  in
        exercise of inherent jurisdiction.

     6. We have heard Mr. Fakhruddin, learned senior counsel appearing  for
        the appellant, and Mr. Kaustubh Anshuraj, learned counsel appearing
        for the respondent.

     7. The two seminal issues that emanate for consideration  are,  first,
        whether the appellant’s application for grant of maintenance  under
        Section 125 of the Code is to be restricted to the date of  divorce
        and, as an ancillary to it, because of  filing  of  an  application
        under Section 3 of the Act after the divorce for grant of mahr  and
        return of gifts would  disentitle  the  appellant  to  sustain  the
        application under Section 125 of  the  Code;  and  second,  whether
        regard being had to the present fact situation, as observed by  the
        High Court,  the  consent  under  Section  5  of  the  Act  was  an
        imperative to maintain the application.

     8. To appreciate the central controversy, it is necessary to sit in  a
        time machine for apt recapitulation.  In Mohd. Ahmed Khan  v.  Shah
        Bano Begum and others[1], entertaining an application under Section
        125 of  the  Code,  the  learned  Magistrate  had  granted  monthly
        maintenance for a particular sum which was  enhanced  by  the  High
        Court in exercise  of  revisional  jurisdiction.   The  core  issue
        before the Constitution Bench was whether a Muslim  divorced  woman
        was entitled to grant of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code.
         Answering the said issue, after referring to number of  texts  and
        principles of Mohammedan Law, the larger Bench opined  that  taking
        the language of the statute, as one finds it, there  is  no  escape
        from the conclusion that a divorced  Muslim  wife  is  entitled  to
        apply for maintenance under Section 125 of the Code and  that  mahr
        is not such a quantum which can ipso facto absolve the  husband  of
        the liability under the Code, and would not bring him under Section
        127(3)(b) of the Code.

     9. After the aforesaid decision was rendered, the  Parliament  enacted
        the Act.  The constitutional validity of the said Act was  assailed
        in Danial Latifi and another  v.  Union  of  India[2]  wherein  the
        Constitution bench referred to the Statement of Objects and Reasons
        of the Act, took note of the true position of the ratio  laid  down
        in Shah Bano’s case and after adverting to many a facet upheld  the
        constitutional validity of the Act.  While interpreting Sections  3
        and 4 of the Act, the Court came to hold that the intention of  the
        Parliament is that the divorced  woman  gets  sufficient  means  of
        livelihood after the divorce and, therefore, the  word  “provision”
        indicates that something is provided in advance  for  meeting  some
        needs.  Thereafter, the Court proceeded to state thus: -

           “In other words, at the time of divorce the  Muslim  husband  is
           required to contemplate the future needs  and  make  preparatory
           arrangements in advance for meeting those needs. Reasonable  and
           fair provision may include  provision  for  her  residence,  her
           food, her clothes, and other articles. The  expression  “within”
           should be read as “during” or “for”  and  this  cannot  be  done
           because words cannot be construed contrary to their  meaning  as
           the word “within” would mean “on or before”, “not  beyond”  and,
           therefore, it was held that the Act would mean that on or before
           the expiration of the iddat period, the husband is bound to make
           and pay maintenance to the wife and if he fails to  do  so  then
           the wife is entitled to recover  it  by  filing  an  application
           before the Magistrate as provided in Section  3(3)  but  nowhere
           has Parliament provided that reasonable and fair  provision  and
           maintenance is limited only for the iddat period and not  beyond
           it. It would extend to the  whole  life  of  the  divorced  wife
           unless she gets married for a second time.”



    10. In the said case the Constitution Bench observed that in  actuality
        the Act has codified the rationale contained in Shah  Bano’s  case.
        While interpreting Section 3 of the Act, it was observed  that  the
        said provision provides that a divorced woman is entitled to obtain
        from her former husband “maintenance”, “provision” and “mahr”,  and
        to recover from his possession her wedding presents and  dowry  and
        authorizes the Magistrate to order payment or restoration of  these
        sums or properties and further indicates that the husband  has  two
        separate and distinct obligations: (1) to make  a  “reasonable  and
        fair  provision”  for  his  divorced  wife;  and  (2)  to   provide
        “maintenance”  for  her.   The  Court  further  observed  that  the
        emphasis of this section is not on the nature or  duration  of  any
        such “provision” or “maintenance”, but on  the  time  by  which  an
        arrangement for payment of  provision  and  maintenance  should  be
        concluded, namely, “within the iddat period”, and if the provisions
        are so read, the Act would exclude from  liability  for  post-iddat
        period  maintenance  to  a  man  who  has  already  discharged  his
        obligations  of  both   “reasonable   and   fair   provision”   and
        “maintenance” by paying these amounts in a lump sum to his wife, in
        addition to having paid his wife’s mahr and restored her  dowry  as
        per Sections 3(1)(c) and 3(1)(d) of the Act.  Thereafter the larger
        Bench opined thus:-

           “30. A comparison of these provisions with Section 125 CrPC will
           make it clear that requirements provided in Section 125 and  the
           purpose, object and scope thereof being to prevent  vagrancy  by
           compelling those who can do so to support those who  are  unable
           to support themselves and who have a normal and legitimate claim
           to support are satisfied. If that is so,  the  argument  of  the
           petitioners that a different scheme being provided under the Act
           which is equally or more beneficial on the interpretation placed
           by us from the one provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure
           deprive them of their right, loses its significance. The  object
           and scope  of  Section  125  CrPC  is  to  prevent  vagrancy  by
           compelling those who are under an obligation  to  support  those
           who are unable to  support  themselves  and  that  object  being
           fulfilled, we find it difficult to accept the  contention  urged
           on behalf of the petitioners.

           31.   Even under the Act, the parties agree that the  provisions
           of Section 125 CrPC would still be attracted and even otherwise,
           the Magistrate  has  been  conferred  with  the  power  to  make
           appropriate provision for maintenance and, therefore, what could
           be earlier granted by a Magistrate under Section 125 CrPC  would
           now be granted under  the  very  Act  itself.   This  being  the
           position, the Act cannot be held to be unconstitutional.”




    11. Eventually the larger Bench concluded  that  a  Muslim  husband  is
        liable to make reasonable and fair provision for the future of  the
        divorced wife which obviously includes her maintenance as well  and
        such a reasonable and fair provision  extending  beyond  the  iddat
        period must be made by the husband within the iddat period in terms
        of Section 3 of the Act; that liability of a Muslim husband to  his
        divorced wife arising under Section 3 of the Act to pay maintenance
        is not confined to the iddat period; and  that  a  divorced  Muslim
        woman who has not remarried and who is not able to maintain herself
        after the iddat period can proceed as provided under Section  4  of
        the Act against her relatives who are liable  to  maintain  her  in
        proportion to the  properties  which  they  inherit  on  her  death
        according to Muslim law from  such  divorced  woman  including  her
        children and parents and if any of the relatives  being  unable  to
        pay maintenance, the Magistrate may direct  the  State  Wakf  Board
        established under the Act to pay such maintenance.

    12. At this Juncture, it is profitable to refer to another Constitution
        Bench decision in Khatoon  Nisa  v.  State  of  U.P.  and  Ors.,[3]
        wherein question arose whether a Magistrate is entitled  to  invoke
        his jurisdiction under Section 125 of the Code to grant maintenance
        in favour of a divorced Muslim woman.  Dealing with the said  issue
        the Court ruled that subsequent to the enactment of the Act  as  it
        was considered  that  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Magistrate  under
        Section 125 of the Code can be invoked  only  when  the  conditions
        precedent mentioned in Section 5 of the Act are complied with.  The
        Court noticed that in the said case the Magistrate had  returned  a
        finding that there having been no divorce in the eye of law, he had
        the jurisdiction to  grant  maintenance  under  Section 125 of  the
        Code.  The said finding of the magistrate had been  upheld  by  the
        High Court.   The Constitution Bench, in that context, ruled thus:

           “The validity of the provisions of the Act was for consideration
           before the constitution bench in the case of Danial  Latifi  and
           Anr. v. Union of India.  In the said case by  reading  down  the
           provisions of the Act, the validity of the Act has  been  upheld
           and it has been observed that under the Act itself when  parties
           agree, the provisions of Section 125 Cr.P.C. could be invoked as
           contained in Section 5  of  the  Act  and  even  otherwise,  the
           magistrate under the Act has the power to grant  maintenance  in
           favour  of  a   divorced   woman,   and   the   parameters   and
           considerations are the same as those in Section 125 Cr.P.C..  It
           is undoubtedly true that in the case in hand, Section 5  of  the
           Act has not been invoked. Necessarily, therefore, the magistrate
           has exercised his jurisdiction  under  Section 125 Cr.P.C.  But,
           since the magistrate retains the power of  granting  maintenance
           in view of the constitution bench decision  in  Danial  Latifi's
           case (supra) under the Act and since the parameters for exercise
           of  that  power   are   the   same   as   those   contained   in
           Section 125 Cr.P.C., we see no  ground  to  interfere  with  the
           orders of the magistrate granting maintenance  in  favour  of  a
           divorced Muslim woman.”




    13. The aforesaid principle clearly lays down that even an  application
        has been filed under the provisions  of  the  Act,  the  Magistrate
        under the Act has the power to grant maintenance  in  favour  of  a
        divorced Muslim woman and the parameters and the considerations are
        the same as stipulated in Section 125 of the  Code.   We  may  note
        that while taking note of the factual score to the effect that  the
        plea of divorce was not accepted by the Magistrate which was upheld
        by the High Court,  the  Constitution  Bench  opined  that  as  the
        Magistrate could exercise power under Section 125 of the  Code  for
        grant of maintenance in favour of a divorced Muslim woman under the
        Act, the  order  did  not  warrant  any  interference.   Thus,  the
        emphasis was laid on the retention of the power by  the  Magistrate
        under  Section  125  of  the  Code  and  the  effect  of   ultimate
        consequence.

    14. Slightly recently, in Shabana Bano v. Imran  Khan[4],  a  two-Judge
        Bench, placing reliance on Danial Latifi (supra), has ruled that: -

           “The appellant’s  petition  under  Section  125  CrPC  would  be
           maintainable before the Family Court as long  as  the  appellant
           does not remarry.  The amount of maintenance to be awarded under
           Section 125 CrPC cannot  be  restricted  for  the  iddat  period
           only.”




            Though the aforesaid decision was rendered interpreting  Section
      7 of the Family Courts Act, 1984, yet  the  principle  stated  therein
      would be applicable, for the same is in consonance with the  principle
      stated by the Constitution Bench in Khatoon Nisa (supra).

    15. Coming to the case at hand, it is found that  the  High  Court  has
        held that as the appellant had already taken recourse to Section  3
        of the Act after divorce took place and obtained relief  which  has
        been upheld by  the  High  Court,  the  application  for  grant  of
        maintenance  under  Section  125  of  the  Code   would   only   be
        maintainable till she was divorced.  It  may  be  noted  here  that
        during the pendency of her application under  Section  125  of  the
        Code the divorce took place.  The  wife  preferred  an  application
        under Section 3 of  the  Act  for  grant  of  mahr  and  return  of
        articles.  The learned Magistrate, as is seen, directed for  return
        of the articles, payment of quantum of mahr  and  also  thought  it
        appropriate to grant maintenance for the Iddat  period.   Thus,  in
        effect, no maintenance had been granted  to  the  wife  beyond  the
        Iddat  period  by  the  learned  Magistrate  as  the  petition  was
        different.  We are disposed to think so as  the  said  application,
        which has been brought on  record,  was  not  filed  for  grant  of
        maintenance.   That  apart,  the  authoritative  interpretation  in
        Danial Latifi (supra) was not available.  In any case, it would  be
        travesty of justice if the appellant would be made remediless.  Her
        application under Section 125 of  the  Code  was  continuing.   The
        husband contested the same on merits without raising  the  plea  of
        absence of consent.  Even if an application under Section 3 of  the
        Act for grant of maintenance was filed, the parameters  of  Section
        125 of the Code would have been made applicable.  Quite apart  from
        that, the application for grant of maintenance was filed  prior  to
        the date of divorce and hearing of the application continued.

    16. Another aspect which has to be kept uppermost in mind is that  when
        the marriage breaks up, a woman suffers from  emotional  fractures,
        fragmentation of sentiments, loss of economic and  social  security
        and, in certain  cases,  inadequate  requisites  for  survival.   A
        marriage is fundamentally a unique bond between two parties.   When
        it perishes like a mushroom, the dignity of the  female  fame  gets
        corroded.  It is the law’s duty  to  recompense,  and  the  primary
        obligation is that of the  husband.   Needless  to  emphasise,  the
        entitlement and the necessitous  provisions  have  to  be  made  in
        accordance with the parameters of law.

    17. Under these circumstances,  regard  being  had  to  the  dictum  in
        Khatoon  Nisa’s  case,  seeking  of  option  would  not  make   any
        difference.  The High Court is not correct in opining that when the
        appellant-wife filed application under Section 3 of  the  Act,  she
        exercised her option.  As the Magistrate still retains the power of
        granting maintenance under Section 125 of the Code  to  a  divorced
        Muslim  woman  and  the  proceeding  was  continuing  without   any
        objection and the ultimate result would be the same, there  was  no
        justification on the part of  the  High  Court  to  hold  that  the
        proceeding after the divorce took place was not maintainable.

    18. It is noticed that the High Court has been  principally  guided  by
        the  issue  of   maintainability   and   affirmed   the   findings.
        Ordinarily, we would have thought of remanding the  matter  to  the
        High Court for reconsideration from all spectrums but we  think  it
        appropriate that the matter should be heard and dealt with  by  the
        Magistrate so that  parties  can  lead  further  evidence.   Be  it
        clarified, if, in the meantime, the appellant  has  remarried,  the
        same has to be taken into consideration, as has been stated in  the
        aforestated authorities for grant of maintenance.  It would be open
        to the appellant-wife to file a  fresh  application  for  grant  of
        interim maintenance, if so advised.  Be it clarified, we  have  not
        expressed anything on the merits of the case.

    19. In the result, the appeal is allowed and the  impugned  orders  are
        set aside and the matter is remitted to the learned Magistrate  for
        re-adjudication of the controversy in question keeping in view  the
        principles stated hereinabove.






                                                              ………………………………J.
                                                               [Dipak Misra]






                                                              ………………………………J.
                                                            [Vikramajit Sen]
      New Delhi;
      April 16, 2014.

-----------------------
[1]    (1985) 2 SCC 556
[2]    (2001) 7 SCC 740
[3]    2002 (6) SCALE 165
[4]    (2010) 1 SCC 666


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