The absence of specific provisions in the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act about granting maintenance for wife did not bar courts from granting such relief if necessary, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday.
Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said the court had to do “substantive justice” and must not be “misled by technicalities”.
The high court dismissed an appeal filed by a Muslim man challenging the trial court’s court order granting his estranged wife maintenance and half the share in the couple’s property while granting them divorce.
The petitioner whose name was not disclosed had claimed that the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act was conspicuously silent on the rights of married Muslim woman for maintenance or matrimonial property.
Under a suit for dissolution of marriage, a woman could not claim maintenance or a share in property, he said.
Justice Phansalkar-Joshi rejected this view.
Merely because the act did not mention that the court had powers to do certain things, it could not be said that the court could not grant such relief if it deemed it necessary, the judge said.
“The right of maintenance and right in the matrimonial property… are incidental to the main relief of dissolution of marriage and therefore, these reliefs are very much an integral part of the decree of dissolution of marriage,” said the judge.
“Hence, they are required to be considered even if at times such reliefs are not asked for,” the high court said.