- The Supreme Court ruled that fulfilling the ‘Haq Mehr’ (dower) obligation is non-negotiable and must be disbursed to a woman upon her request, imposing a fine of Rs100,000 on a petitioner for a six-year delay.
- The written order, led by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, emphasized the Islamic foundation of ‘mehr’ and its recognition in Pakistani law.
- Haq Mehr, rooted in Islamic teachings, signifies a financial commitment by husbands, providing financial security to women within marriages, and its enforcement highlights the court’s commitment to upholding women’s rights.
The petitioner incurred a fine of Rs100,000 for the prolonged six-year delay in fulfilling the ‘mehr’ obligation to his wife, and the court mandated him to cover the litigation expenses incurred by the woman.
In the appeal filed by citizen Khalid Pervaiz, a three-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, issued a concise three-page written order. The order emphatically asserted that ‘mehr,’ is an integral Islamic concept, holds explicit recognition in the laws of Pakistan. The document underscored that the obligation to pay ‘mehr’ is binding and must be fulfilled upon the wife’s request.
According to the order, the assertion of the right to demand ‘mehr’ is applicable during the continuation of the marriage, and it explicitly places the responsibility on the husband to honour this financial commitment. The order further highlighted that in cases where the woman seeks the recovery of ‘mehr’ and maintenance, she is required to initiate legal proceedings. The petitioner was criticized for unnecessarily entangling the woman in protracted litigation, eventually reaching the Supreme Court after an unwarranted delay of six and a half years.
Fulfilling Mehr Obligation is Non-Negotiable: Khalid Pervaiz
In response to the appeal lodged by Khalid Pervaiz, a panel consisting of three members, with Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa at the helm, issued a succinct three-page written decree. The order categorically affirmed the Islamic foundation of ‘mehr’ and its explicit acknowledgment within the legal framework of Pakistan. It unequivocally stated that the responsibility to fulfill the ‘mehr’ obligation is non-negotiable and must be honoured at the wife’s behest.
The order articulated that the entitlement to claim ‘mehr’ remains valid throughout the duration of the marriage, placing a distinct onus on the husband to meet this financial commitment. Additionally, it emphasized that should a woman seek redress for ‘mehr’ and maintenance, she is required to initiate legal proceedings.
The appeal further stated,
“Therefore, in addition to imposing costs throughout we impose compensatory costs to the extent of one hundred thousand rupees on the petitioner considering the decrease in the value of money. If the ‘mehr’ and said costs are not paid the Family Court shall execute this order, which may include attachment of the properties of the petitioner.”
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Haq Mehr and its Importance for Women in Islamic Societies
Haq Mehr, also known as dower, holds significant cultural, legal, and ethical importance in Islamic societies. It is a financial obligation that a husband undertakes to pay to his wife, stipulated in the marriage contract. This amount is agreed upon mutually or determined by cultural norms and traditions. The concept is rooted in Islamic teachings, emphasizing the financial security and dignity of women within the marital relationship.