Indore: As the much debated Triple Talaq bill got Parliament’s nod on Tuesday, it was Shah Bano who waged a lonely battle against the archaic practice of instant Talaq few decades ago.
Bano was married to a renowned Indore-based lawyer Md Ahmad Khan in 1962 and the couple had had five children. In subsequent years, Khan married another woman and both the wives were kept in two different portions of the house.
Khan used to eat with two wives and their children in different times and gave maintenance to Bano, her family had said.
However, the amount of maintenance was insufficient and Bano in April 1978 approached court, demanding a better alimony. She was 62 and had been divorced by Khan by instant triple talaq.
Bano sought legal help and demanded maintenance under section 123 of the CrPC, which puts a legal obligation on a man to provide for his wife during marriage and after divorce too. In the ensuing legal battle between the couple, Khan contested Bano’s claim citing Muslim
Personal Law which required him to provide for her only until the Iddat period. Iddat is the waiting period which a woman has to observe after divorce before she decides to marry another man. It is usually supposed to last three months, but is longer if the woman is pregnant.
Muslim Personal Law Board had also backed Khan’s pleas then.
After a series of hearings, the Supreme Court in 1985 ruled that the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) applies to all Indian citizens regardless of their religion, and that it applied in Bano’s case too. Besides, the apex court increased her alimony sum.
However, amid a nationwide furore, the then Rajiv Gandhi-led government overturned the court’s verdict by passing Muslim Women (Protection on Divorce Act) in Parliament in 1986. Bano later withdrawn her legal suit.
Following legal wrangles and family discord, Bano’s health started to deteriorate and in 1992 she died of brain hemorrhage.