Yousuf Rawther vs. Sowramma Case Summary 1971 SC

Yousuf Rawther vs. Sowramma Case Summary 1971 SC

In Yousuf Rawther vs. Sowramma case, Justice Krishna Iyer held that the triple Talaq is against the essence of Holy Quran and that power of divorce is influenced by Muslim men and that the failure to maintain the wife can be a ground for dissolution of marriage. It is the delusion that has led to the practice of the custom of triple Talaq. This gave a new perspective to the practice and upheld the rights and interests of women.


  • Here, the plaintiff, after attaining the age of puberty moved to her husband’s house.
  • The very next day the defendant left for Coimbatore where he was running a radio dealer’s business.
  • The plaintiff went back to her parents’ house after waiting for a month for her husband.
  • This separation between them lasted for two years during which the defendant failed to maintain his wife.
  • The wife filed a suit for dissolution of marriage for which the defendant alleged that he was willing to keep her but she refused to return to the conjugal home.
  • While the trial court dismissed the suit, the Subordinate Judge’s court passed a decree for dissolution of marriage in favor of the wife.
  • The husband filed an appeal for the same challenging the validity of the decree of the lower appellate court.


Whether the wife can claim dissolution of marriage on the grounds of failure of maintenance by the husband for two years?


The honorable judge present to hear Yousuf Rawther vs. Sowramma case was Justice V.R Krishna Iyer. The judge was of the opinion that:

  1. When the parties are not able and fail ‘to live within the limits of Allah’, There is no value in preserving the whole connection of marriage.
  2. The desecration of dissolving a marriage would not have occurred until it fulfilled the mutual marital obligations which have failed here.
  3. A minor point was insisted by the respondent that both parties were married to others therefore, the decree of divorce may be upheld.
  4. The failure to maintain the wife and living apart for a long time can be held as the grounds for dissolution because of failure to fulfill the obligation.


The court held that failing to provide maintenance to the wife is a ground for dissolution of marriage. The appeal by the husband was dismissed, and the parties bore their respective costs in all courts.


Interpreting legislation obviously envisioned protecting a weaker section (only in terms of their rights; not used in derogation of any women) of the community, such as women. The social perspective and purpose must inform the same and, within its grammatical flexibility and must further the beneficent object.

The principles of the Holy Quran of marriage regarding divorce were focused on the benefit of womanhood and one not fulfilling his duty as a husband should not expect the same from the wife.

When a husband tries to abandon his wife under the notion of marriage by not maintaining his wife, the wife must be allowed to use it as a ground for dissolution of marriage because, in a relationship such as a marriage, there should be no scope of harassing the other partner using the law as a tool.

The personal laws are inherently patriarchal because of the widespread majority of male-dominated societies when these laws were in the process of formation and evolution. But the times are changing at a rapid pace, and we can see the recent decisions of the Indian Court where they are trying to protect women’s rights and using judicial activism for the betterment of the women.

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