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Wife to get benefits if Nikah Nama is unclear, says Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ruled that in cases where there is ambiguity in the terms and conditions written in the Nikah Nama (marriage contract), the benefits will be given to the wife. It emphasized that if someone else filled out the Nikah Nama form, it cannot be used against the interests of the bride.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Athar Minullah issued a detailed 10-page judgment on Tuesday regarding an appeal concerning a couple’s divorce. Justice Athar Minullah authored the judgment.

According to the case details, after the divorce, the woman approached the court seeking the return of dowry and other items as per the conditions stated in the Nikah Nama. The woman was granted a plot mentioned in column number 17 of the Nikah Nama by the high court.

Challenging the high court’s decision, the appellant took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the purpose of the plot was for building a house, and as long as the marriage lasted, the woman could reside there.

However, such an explanation was not explicitly written in the Nikah Nama.

The legal question before the Supreme Court was how to resolve any ambiguity in the terms and conditions of the Nikah Nama. The court stated that it was established law that any ambiguity in a contract is resolved based on the intention of the parties involved.

However, the judgment noted that before interpreting the terms and conditions of the Nikahnama, it must also be considered whether the bride had the freedom to consent to the terms and conditions of the marriage fully.

The judgment pointed out that in a male-dominated society, the terms and conditions are typically decided by men on behalf of the bride.

Therefore, if someone else filled out the columns of the Nikah Nama without meaningful consultation with the bride, it cannot be used against her interests.

In case of ambiguity or doubt in the terms and conditions of the Nikah Nama or any entry or column, the benefit would be given to the wife, according to the judgment. The Supreme Court upheld the high court’s decision and dismissed the appeal.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.


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