Headline: Pakistani Supreme Court Affirms Wife’s Right to Mehr, Stresses Timely Payment
The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa, has issued a three-page written order affirming that mehr, the obligatory payment or gift from the groom to the bride in Islamic marriages, must be paid whenever the wife demands it. The ruling dispels the notion that mehr is only payable in the event of divorce. The decision came in response to a case related to the non-payment of mehr.
Mehr is a fundamental component of Islamic marriage contracts and is recognized as the exclusive right of the bride. Chief Justice Isa’s order emphasized that mehr is rooted in Islamic concepts outlined in the Holy Quran, specifically Surah An-Nisa verse 4 and Surah Al-Baqrah verses 236-7. The order referenced Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1962, recognizing mehr in Pakistani law.
In the case, the husband argued that he was not obligated to pay Mehr as his marriage was ongoing, and no divorce had occurred. The three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Isa, rejected this argument, citing a 2001 judgment that established the husband’s obligation to pay agreed-upon mehr even during the continuation of the marriage.
The order expressed concern about frivolous litigation in Pakistani courts, noting that the wife had to file a suit for further recovery and maintenance, leading to unnecessary delays and court involvement. The court stressed that costs should be imposed on parties causing such delays, emphasizing that challenging a decision does not render it ineffective.
In this specific case, the court imposed compensatory costs of one hundred thousand rupees on the petitioner, in addition to regular costs. The petitioner was given one month to pay the mehr through a banker’s cheque, pay order, or demand draft. Failure to comply could result in the Family Court executing the order, including property attachment. The order concluded by urging courts to impose costs when necessary to discourage unreasonable litigation and promote compliance.