Alimony Bill That Favors Husbands Advances in India

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United Press International

India’s lower house of Parliament passed a bill Tuesday exempting Muslim husbands from paying alimony to their divorced wives, while outside the house, 150 women chained themselves to gates in protest.

Opposition lawmakers staged an angry walkout after the vote, and the women protesters were arrested.

The government introduced the bill following a Supreme Court ruling that a divorced Muslim cannot avoid paying alimony by invoking the Muslim sharia law of the Koran exempting him from the obligation.

The legislators debated the legislation for more than 14 hours before passing the bill 372-54.


The ruling sparked widespread protests by orthodox Muslims against what they saw as court interference in their personal laws. They said Islamic personal law entitled a divorced woman to three months of support from her husband.

Defending the bill, federal ministers Asoke Sen and Arun Nehru told Parliament it was important for the majority community to respect the sentiments of large minority groups in the multi-religious and multiracial society to preserve the country’s unity.