My husband is Not Providing Maintenance. How does the Pakistani law protect me?

If any husband fails to maintain his wife adequately (while the marriage is intact), or where there are more wives than one, fails to maintain them equitably, the wife, or all or any of the wives, may in addition to seeking any other legal remedy available apply to the Chairman who shall constitute an Arbitration Council to determine the matter, and the Arbitration Council may issue a certificate specifying the amount which shall be paid as maintenance by the husband.

Maintenance Claims by Wives under the Arbitration Council: An Analysis of Case Law under the relevant rules of Rules under Muslim Family Laws Ordinance , 1961

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961, in Pakistan, is a pivotal legal instrument that regulates various aspects of family life in the Muslim community, including the rights and duties arising out of marital relationships. One of the most contested provisions under this law pertains to the maintenance of wives mentioned in Rules under Muslim Family Laws Ordinance , 1961.

Let us delve into the case law to understand the nuances and interpretations of these provisions.

2019 CLC 1539 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: In this case, it was contended that after the promulgation of the Family Courts Act, 1964, the Arbitration Council had no jurisdiction to fix maintenance allowance. The court, however, opined that the Family Courts Act, 1964 and the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 could coexist. While they cannot be invoked simultaneously for the same matter, one does not bar proceedings under the other. The case also highlighted that decisions of the Arbitration Council should be taken by a majority, implying the importance of collective decision-making.

2018 YLR 273 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: This case emphasised the importance of proper communication of divorce through the Arbitration Council. The court held that the husband’s right to divorce under the Quranic Injunctions remains intact despite restrictions in the Ordinance. However, proper notice of divorce must be served to the wife for it to be effective.

2009 SCMR 1037 SUPREME-COURT: The case underscored the importance of proper constitution of the Arbitration Council. The Council was deemed improperly constituted when no representative was appointed by the husband, and he wasn’t given a notice to nominate his representative. Such a flaw rendered the Council’s decisions void.

2008 SCMR 466 SUPREME-COURT: This case established that orders of the Arbitration Council aren’t void ab initio. The challenge against the Council’s orders must be timely. In this case, the suit challenging the orders was dismissed as barred by time.

2006 CLC 479 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: The court clarified the jurisdictional boundaries. It was held that the District Officer Revenue could only change the Chairman of the Arbitration Council for a particular case but had no power to transfer applications from one union Council to another.

2002 CLC 1838 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: Emphasising the need for detailed inquiry, the court opined that the Chairman of the Arbitration Council must determine the income of the parties before fixing maintenance. An arbitrary determination without such inquiry was deemed erroneous.

1999 MLD 1008 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: Reiterating the principle of collective decision-making, the court held that orders passed solely by the Chairman, without showing concurrence or dissent of the other members, were illegal.

1991 CLC 1395 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: This case criticised non-speaking orders passed by revisional authorities. An order must manifest independent application of mind and contain supporting reasons.

1991 CLC 1356 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE & 1991 MLD 2375 LAHORE-HIGH-COURT-LAHORE: Both these cases emphasised the importance of the timeliness of legal remedies. Revisions against the orders of the Arbitration Council must be filed within the prescribed period.

In conclusion, the Arbitration Council’s role in determining maintenance for wives during a subsisting marriage is crucial. Over the years, case law has further shaped and refined the interpretation of the provisions of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961. It is evident that while the Ordinance seeks to protect the rights of Muslim women, it also ensures a balance of rights and duties within the marital relationship. Proper constitution of the Council, timely legal remedies, and detailed inquiries are of paramount importance in this regard.

A Primer on Child Custody, Interim Custody , Visitation and Guardianship as per Pakistani law

Josh and Mak International: Expert Legal Services for Divorce and Khula in Pakistan for Local and Overseas Pakistanis

Pakistanis Filing for Divorce, Khula and Custody Matters in Pakistan when either of the Parties are Abroad 

Can a wife Divorce her husband in Pakistan? (Column 18 Nikahnama)

error: Content is Copyright protected !!