Suit for Restitution of Conjugal Rights

Marriage is a legal contract between a husband and wife which bestows both moral and legal obligations upon each party. It's important to keep in mind that some of the obligations that come with this contract are implied, which means that even if these conditions aren't explicitly stated in the Nikahnama, they may still have a binding effect on either spouse. With that said, some of the general legal rights available to spouses during marriage are protected under the Family Laws of Pakistan.

In general, spouses have the right to:

Live in the marital home

Share in the family finances

Make decisions about their children's upbringing

Have a say in family matters

Every obligation by one spouse confers a legal right in favor of the other. During the course of the marriage, the husband is bound to perform all obligations towards his wife, and similarly, every wife is required to offer basic conjugal rights to the husband. Conjugal rights in a literal sense means the rights to live together and perform matrimonial obligations towards the spouse.

If a wife refuses to perform her matrimonial duties, the husband can file a suit for restitution of conjugal rights against her in Family Court. This right is available to every husband under Pakistani family law where the wife refuses to perform her moral and legal obligations. If the wife cannot prove a lawful excuse in court, she may be fined for violating the husband's legal rights. If a wife fails to perform her duties without a lawful excuse, her husband can take action against her. This is called a suit for restitution of conjugal rights, or Bazoo Dawa. The husband must file this in the Family Court, in the jurisdiction where the wife permanently resides. If the wife's whereabouts are unknown, the case can be filed at her last known address.

If a husband wants to file for a restitution of conjugal rights, he will have to go to court to prove that he is legally married and that his wife is not fulfilling her matrimonial duties. If the husband's pleas are convincing, the court will decree that the wife must restore conjugal rights.

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If the husband leaves the house without a lawful excuse or reason, or if the wife is refusing to perform matrimonial obligations, the husband can file a case in family court to have his matrimonial rights enforced. If the Family Court issues a decree and the wife fails to comply, the husband becomes automatically entitled to stop maintenance or financial support. Additionally, if the failure to comply is deliberate, the husband can opt for a second marriage. Permission for a second marriage will be granted instantly by the Chairman of the Union Council, and the court may passed a decree in favour of the husband.

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Matrimonial rights are available to both husband and wife during the marriage. If the husband refuses to perform his duties, the wife is legally entitled to file a suit for restitution of conjugal rights. One important benefit of the decree issued by the family court in favor of the wife is that it automatically entitles her to maintenance and financial support. The husband is still required by law to support his wife even if she is working. The law presumes that the wife is willing to fulfill her matrimonial duties, but it is the husband who is usually delinquent in these circumstances. If the wife later decides to dissolve the marriage through Khula, she will not have to return the dower amount to the husband after the process is complete.

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