ACT, 1948

ACT IX OF 1948

15th  March, 1948


An Act to provide for the

Application of the Muslim Personal Law

(Shariat) to Muslims in West Punjab in certain respects.


            Permeable : —  


            Whereas it is expedient to make provision for the application in certain respect of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) to Muslim in West Punjab: It is hereby enacted as follows:-


Court Decisions




            The object of the West Punjab Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act was not to override any statute but to abrogate custom where there was a clash between custom and personal law. Section 2 of the former Act, therefore, does not override section 488, Criminal P. C.   P L D 1957 (W. P.) Lah.220


              1. Short title, extent and commencement:  

1)         This Act may be called the West Punjab Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1948.

2)         It extends to the whole of West Punjab

3)         It shall come into force at once.



Court Decisions


            Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

            The words “The Shariat Act” occurring in the Azad Jammu& Kashmir Governments Resolution No. 279 dated 22nd March, 1948 refer to the West Punjab Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act (IX of 1948). The latter Act therefore is in force in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

In interpreting a Statute the proper course in the first instance is to examine the language of the Statute and to ask what is its natural meaning and if the words are really and fairly doubtful then according to well known legal principles and principles of common sense, historical investigation may be used for the purposes of clearing away the doubt which the phraseology of the Statute creates. P L D 1955 A.J. & K. 5



2.         [Notwithstanding any rule or custom or usage, in all questions regarding succession (whether testate or intestate), special property of females, betrothal, marriage, divorce, dower, adoption, guardianship, minority, legitimacy or bastardy, family relations, wills, legacies, gifts, religious usages or institutions including Waqfs, trusts and trust property, the rule of decision shall be the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) in cases where the parties are Muslims.]



Court Decisions


            Unlawful consideration–

Wife agreeing to forego dower and in addition paying a sum of money to husband who agrees in turn to divorce her, but also withdraws a criminal case against wife instituted under Ss. 380 and 317, P. P. C. Divorce effective.

The husband of a woman, brought a complaint against her under Ss. 380 and 317, P. P. C., but came to an arrange­ment with her by which she gave up her claim to dower and paid in addition Rs. 1,300 cash to the husband, the latter divorcing her in return, and, agreeing to withdraw the criminal case against her. The complaint, however, was not withdrawn, which. was ultimately dismissed for want of a prima facie case, after the husband had prosecuted it for some time. The husband, thereupon, brought a suit for restitution of conjugal rights, in which he took the plea, that the divorce had been obtained by the defendant by misrepresentation and fraud that it was against law and public policy, and as such was illegal and void. The suit was dismissed and appeal to the Additional District judge suffered the same fate.


Held (on further appeal) that the divorce given by the husband was valid.

According to S. 2, West Punjab Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act (IX of 1948) (as amended in 1951), where the parties are Muslims, the rule of decision in matters of divorce was Muhammadan Law irrespective of any other provisions of any other Act to the contrary.

Muslim Law provides that talaq, even if it is pronounced under any form of compulsion or by way of jest, becomes effective and irrevocable as soon as it is pronounced. The underlying reason for this provision of Muhammadan Law is that it emphasizes the sanctity of the marriage tie among the Muhammadan. P L D 1957 (W. P.) Lah. 195   I L R 3 Mad. 347 ref.

Further Held That  (with reference to section 23, Contract Act) that even if it was assumed that stifling of the prosecution under sections 380 and 317, P. P. C. was part of consideration of the arrangement for a divorce, the plaintiff, in his suit for restitution of conjugal rights, could not be allowed to take advantage of his own wrong when he himself had also participated in the illegal transaction. When the parties to a contract are themselves in pari delicto neither of them is entitled to ask any relief from a Court of Law.

A I R 1941 P C 95 ; 33 I C 711 ; A I R 1930 Oudh 196 ; I L R 42 Cal. 286 and A I R 1923 All. 504 ref.


3.         In respect of immovable property held by a Muslim female as a limited owner under the Customary Law, succession shall be deemed to open out on the termination of her limited interest to all persons who would have been entitled to inherit the property at the time of the death of the last full owner had the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) been applicable at the time of such death, and in the event of the death of any such person before the termination of the limited interest mentioned above, succession shall devolve on his heirs and successors existing at the time of the termination of the limited interest of the female as if the aforesaid such person had died at the termination of the limited interest of the female and had been governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat);


Provided that the share, which the female limited owner would have inherited had the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) been applicable at the time of the death of the last 41 owner, shall devolve on her if she loses her limited interest in the property on account of her marriage or re­marriage and on her heirs under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) if. her limited interest terminates because of death.


Court Decisions


           Inheritance ‘Succession to agricultural land–Married daughter of last owner-Plea regarding father of daughter last owner having died before promulgation of Act not proved—Order of criminal Court passed in a criminal case lodged against last owner on 3-4-1951 showing hire alive at least in 1950-Plea of order of criminal Court being neither relevant nor admissible in evidence not raised before trial Court when order of criminal Court exhibited–Plea raised before Supreme Court repelled.

1980 S C M R 873



4           Repeal of section 5 of the Punjab Laws Act for certain purposes.— With effect from the date on which this Act comes into operation, [i.e. 15th March, 1949] so much of the provisions contained in section 5 of the Punjab Laws Act, 1872, as conflict with the present Act shall be deemed to have repealed.



5.  Save as expressly provided by the provisions of section 3, this Act shall have no retrospective operation.




Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Case Law