Muslim father-in-law is not liable to give maintenance to daughter-in-law after son’s death – CALCUTTA HIGH COURT

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In a recent ruling, the Calcutta High Court ordered that under Domestic Violence Act father-in-law is not required to maintain his son’s widow. In the present matter Ms. ShabnamPraveen, after her husband’s death demanded maintenance from her father-in-law. She submitted that after the death of her husband the family business was handled by her father-in-law.

Justice Mumtaz Khan while adjudicating the plea observed that Section 36 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act states that this law is in addition and not in contravention to the provisions of any other law. Since both the parties in the present matter are Muslims then they will be governed by their personal laws.

The court held that, as per Section 36 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDV), 2005 it provides that the provisions of the Act shall be in addition to and not in contravention of other existing provisions of law. The court also referred to the decision of Mrs. NanditaSarkar Nee Sen, the concept of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, was taken into consideration keeping in mind the provisions of the PWDV Act, 2005.

In the present matter, both the parties are Muslim and will be governed by the Muslim Law. As per the Muslim law, father-in-law is under no obligation to maintain allowance to the widow of his son, i.e. the petitioner in the instant case.

The Calcutta High Court, on Friday, exempted a father-in-law from maintaining his son’s widow, opining that he was under no obligation to maintain her. The Court had been approached by one Ms. ShabnamParveen, who had demanded maintenance from her father-in-law, contending that he was the one handling the family business after her husband’s death.

Assessing her plea, Justice Md. Mumtaz Khan noted that as per Section 36 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, the provisions of the Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law, for the time being in force….

Judgement-The Court opined that since both the parties are Muslim in the case at hand, it would be their personal law that would apply to them then ruled, “Section 36 of the PWDV Act, 2005 provides that the provisions of that Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law, for the time being in force. In the decision of Mrs. NanaditaSarkar Nee Sen (Supra), the concept of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 was taken into consideration vis-a-vis the provisions of PWDV Act, 2005. In the case in hand both parties are Mohammedan and as such under the Muhamadan Law, opposite party no.2, being father-in-law, is under no obligation to provide maintain allowance to the widow of his son namely the petitioner.”
By- Nikita Goel, Convenor, Students Reporter Committee,  INBA

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