Plea in SC challenging new law on ‘triple talaq’


Team Udayavani, Aug 22, 2019, 7:25 PM IST

New Delhi: A petition was filed in the Supreme Court  onThursday challenging the newly enacted law which makes the practice of instant divorce through ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims a punishable offence entailing imprisonment of up to three years.

The fresh plea has been filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, a Muslim body, which sought to declare The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 as “unconstitutional” on the ground that it allegedly violates the provisions of the Constitution.

President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Act which makes ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal.

Earlier this month, ‘Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema’, a religious organisation of Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics in Kerala, had also moved the apex court seeking to declare the newly enacted law as “unconstitutional”.

In the plea filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has claimed that since the pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife had already been declared “void and illegal”, there was no requirement to enact the law.

“However, the impugned Act criminalises the act of pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband and makes it a cognizable offence, without appreciating that such pronouncement had already been declared unconstitutional and amounted to a nullity in the eyes of law,” the plea said.

It claimed that “criminalising a mode of divorce in one particular religion while keeping the subject of marriage and divorce in other religions only within the purview of civil law, also leads to discrimination, which is not in conformity with the mandate of Article 15”.

The plea said that marriage is civil contract as per the Islamic Law and talaq is only a mode to repudiate the contract and imposition of criminal liability for a civil wrong violates the fundamental rights of Muslim men.

The Act at present makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times  – spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat — in one sitting.

“Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal,” the law says.

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