The Mindset

"There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it." – Chanakya

Shah Bano Case

Posted by The Mindset on February 14, 2011

In many ways the Shah Bano case has become an icon of the poor condition of (Indian) women in Islam.
Shah Bano was a 62-year-old Muslim widow, a mother of five, who after the death of her husband wanted an alimony as according to the Indian Constitution but was denied when Muslims clerics interfered in the matter. This case ultimately lead to a constitution amendment and many still that this case was in the root of demolition of Babri Mosque.

Shah Bano, a 62 year old Muslim woman and mother of five from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was divorced by her husband in 1978. According to the Muslim family law the husband just needs to say the word Talaq (meaning divorce) three times before two witnesses for a valid divorce. The triple Talaq as it is now called is valid even if said in sleep or if husband send the three words through mobile SMS .

Shah Bano, who had no means to support herself and her children, approached the courts for securing maintenance from her husband. When the case reached the Supreme Court of India, seven years had elapsed. The Supreme Court invoked Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, which applies to everyone regardless of caste, creed, or religion. It ruled that Shah Bano be given maintenance money, similar to alimony.

Some Muslim fundamentalists felt threatened by what they perceived as an “encroachment” of the Muslim Personal Law, and protested loudly at the judgement. Their spokesmen were Obaidullah Khan Azmi and Syed Shahabuddin. They had formed an organization in 1973 known as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board devoted to upholding what they saw as Muslim Personal Law, and threatened to agitate in large numbers throughout the country. The then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, bowed to their demands and cited the gesture as an example of secularism although many condemned it as minority appeasement and as a complete antithesis of genuine secularism.

In 1986, the Congress (I) party, which had an absolute majority in Parliament at the time, passed an act The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986 that nullified the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Shah Bano case. This act upheld the Muslim Personal Law and writ as excerpted below:

“Every application by a divorced woman under section 125… of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, pending before a magistrate on the commencement of this Act shall, notwithstanding anything contained in that code… be disposed of by such magistrate in accordance with the provisions of this Act.”
The Statement of Objects and Reasons of this Act (i.e. the objective of the Act) needs a mention. According to the stated objects of the Act, when a Muslim divorced woman is unable to support herself after the period that she must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man, the Magistrate is empowered to make an order for the payment of maintenance by her relatives who would be entitled to inherit her property on her death according to Muslim Law. But when a divorced woman has no such relatives, and does not have enough means to pay the maintenance, the magistrate would order the State Waqf Board to pay the maintenance. The ‘liability’ of husband to pay the maintenance was thus restricted to the period of the iddat only.

Critics strongly contend that this Act was passed in order to appease minorities and safeguard the Muslim vote bank.

The case has led to Muslim women receiving a large, one-time payment from their husbands during the period of iddat, instead of a maximum monthly payment of 500 – an upper limit which has since been removed. Cases of women getting lump sum payments for lifetime maintenance are becoming common.

This case was a pure example of Muslim appeasement practised by the Congress party. This case again gave rise to a demand of Uniform Civil Code in the country and for truly secular laws instead of the pseudo-secularism practised by the Congress party.
{Source}:Shah Bano Case : Wiki

5 Responses to “Shah Bano Case”

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  4. Empowerment of women is not uttering in our society. See, in shush banu case she has not done any mistake but she become the guilty.Even a five year child also says whose right in this case but Islam restricts like that…Why we not bring a uniform civil code in our beautiful India .with out a women world does not exist.what hindu scriptures says even GOD also come from his mothers womb.

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