New law on triple talaq challenged in SC, Delhi HC

New Delhi: A Kerala-based Muslim organisation ‘Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema’ and an advocate Shahid Ali moved petitions in the Supreme court and Delhi High court, respectively, opposing the newly passed law on Triple Talaq.

The petitioners said ‘The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 violates the fundamental rights of husbands in the Muslim community. They also claimed that the Act violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and is liable to be struck down.

Both the petitions were filed a day after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the new legislation. “The Act has introduced penal legislation, specific to a class of persons based on religious identity. It is causative of grave public mischief, which, if unchecked, may lead to polarization and disharmony in society,” the plea filed in the apex court said.

Muslim organization claimed that it was one of the largest in Kerala in terms of number of followers. The petition said the legislation is class specific to Muslims. It said in the petition that  Act was a punishment of Muslim husbands and did not intend abolition of triple talaq. No reasonable person can believe that the means to ensure it is by putting an errant husband in jail for three years and create a non-bailable offence for merely saying Talaq Talaq Talaq, said the organisation in its petition. “There is no reasonableness or constitutional logic for making the procedural infirmity in effecting divorce a punishable offence for members of Muslim community alone and such legislation cannot withstand the test of Article 14,” it further added.

The delhi-based advocate said in his petition that the petition said that the act criminalising the practice of triple talaq among Muslims and imposing three years of imprisonment will shut down all room for compromise between the husband and wife. The petition is likely to come up for hearing next week, said a media report.

The advocate slammed the central government and Supreme Court’s judgment saying that the intentions are mala fide and ultra-vires of the Constitution. He further said that the Act could be misused as it does not provide for a mechanism to verify the truthfulness of the allegations.

The new law 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. It makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times – spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat – in one sitting.

NT Bureau