The 'Shah Bano case' was a landmark in the Muslim women's fight for justice. It seen as one of the most controversial maintenance suits in India, as a 60-year-old mother for five from Indore knocked the doors of the court asking for alimony from her husband who had divorced her in 1978.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of granting Shah Bano maintenance from her ex-husband under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, with an upper limit of Rs. 500 per month.
However, this judgement was reversed due to pressure from Islamic orthodoxy and caused the Congress government to pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, which diluted the judgement marked by the Supreme Court and gave a Muslim woman the right to maintenance for the period of 90 days or iddat after the divorce.
The reponsibilty of maintenance is later shifted to her relatives or in case the woman has no means to support herself, a magistrate can order the state WAKF board to provide sustainable support to the woman and any dependent children.
The case remains a ground-breaking one in personal law.