Enforcement of maintenance under Section 125 of the

Enforcement under Personal Law: Where a wife enforces her right in a civil court, the court applies the rules of Muslim personal law in considering her claim. If her claim is justified under Muslim law, a decree in her favour is passed directing the husband to pay the maintenance allowance to the wife. The amount of maintenance to the wife may be any reasonable sum of money to be decided by the court taking into account the requirements of the wife and the socio­economic conditions of the husband.

Generally, a wife is not entitled to claim arrears of maintenance. But under Shia and Shafei laws, a wife is entitled to get the arrears of her maintenance allowance. However, according to all schools of Muslim law, the wife can claim arrears of past maintenance if any maintenance allowance to her was promised by husband under any separate agreement. Such agreements are generally made to assure a wife to receive a regular pocket-allowance called Kharch-i-pandan or, Mewakhori. She is entitled to get arrears of maintenance also in a case where maintenance was ordered by the court but remained unpaid.

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Enforcement under Criminal Procedure Code:

Where a Muslim wife is in urgent need, she may apply for an order of maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. A Magistrate of the first class may then, orders the husband to provide monthly allowance not exceeding five hundred rupees, for the maintenance of his wife.

However, subsequent changes in the amount ordered may be made on proof of the change in circumstances. Moreover, the Magistrate has an authority to cancel or vary his order if the wife has, in the meanwhile, obtained a decree from a civil court. Such allowance is payable from the date of the order, or, if so ordered, from the date of the wife’s application. If the husband has been ordered by a Magistrate to pay maintenance allowance to his wife under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the husband fails to comply the order without sufficient cause, the Magistrate may issue warrant for levying the amount due in the manner provided for levying fines, and may sentence the husband for non-payment of the maintenance after execution of such warrant. The imprisonment may extend for a term which may extend to one month or until payment, whichever is earlier.

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