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Right of Muslim woman while living separately

Question: I am living separately from my husband because he does not like me. He has extramarital relations with another woman and most of the time he lives with her. What is the right of Muslim woman while she is living separately from her husband? We have tried my best to live with him but he is a very violent and abusive person. He used to beat me and abuse me in the family. My in-laws were helpless and couldn’t protest hence, they advised me to live separately. As per their advice and request of my parents I have decided to leave my matrimonial home. Thereafter, I have been living with my parents for three years.

Question from: Telangana

A married Muslim woman has many rights so you should not feel help less or unprotected. There are several legal provisions which give protection to the deserted wife irrespective of her religion. You should take legal recourse and enforce your right against your husband. 

Right to maintenance

Right to maintenance is the most valuable and significant right of a married woman. Husband is bound to provide a respectable life to his wife. If the husband neglects or refuses to maintain his wife the wife can claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (crpc).

Section 125 crpc is a quasi criminal proceeding and supersedes the personal law so far as relates to maintenance. Hence, a Muslim woman can claim alimony from her husband as a matter of right. Thus you can file a complaint under section 125 crpc for alimony of monthly allowance from your husband. 

Also read: An unemployed husband is bound to maintain his wife

Your husband is a working person and financially sound. He has sufficient means to maintain you. Hence, your complaint under section 125 crpc is maintainable. A Muslim woman can invoke her right to maintenance, u/s 125 crpc, while living separately from husband. If she has sufficient reason to live separately she is entitled for maintenance. 

Right of Muslim woman under Domestic Violence

A Muslim woman can seek residence order and monetary relief under the Domestic Violence Act (DV Act). Married woman can enforce her right to live in a matrimonial home under section 17 of the DV Act. 

Section 17 provides the right to residence in a shared household [SR Batra v. Taruna Batra, (2007) 3 SCC 169]. If the matrimonial home is not safe for the wife the husband shall provide an alternate accommodation under Section 19 of DV Act. 

You have faced domestic violence in your matrimonial home. Hence, you are a victim of domestic violence. An aggrieved person (wife) can seek monetary relief under Section 20 of the DV Act. the court will grant monetary relief for medical treatment, loss of earning or damages to her property etc.  

Also read: An educated wife is entitled for maintenance u/s 125 crpc

The monetary relief granted under this section shall be adequate, fair and reasonable and consistent with the standard of living to which the aggrieved person is accustomed.

Section 20(2) DV Act

Thus the law protects the rights of Muslim woman even if she is living separately from her husband. When the wife is living separately due to some valid reason such a separation does not affect her rights.

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