SC refuses urgent hearing on plea for direction for uniform divorce procedure

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to urgently list a plea against the practice of Talaq-e-Hasan, under which a man can divorce his wife by pronouncing “talaq” once a month for three months, and all other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq.

Senior advocate Pinky Anand, representing a Muslim woman, mentioned the matter before a vacation bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B.V. Nagarathna.

As she submitted that two notices have already been sent to her client and sought urgent hearing in the matter, the bench asked the senior counsel to mention the matter before the court’s mentioning registrar.

Anand contended that the petition was filed at the beginning of this month and her client has been twice granted notices of divorce. “The lady is with a child. The first notice was given on April 19 and the second notice was issued on May 19,” she said.

At this, the bench said: “Make a request to the registrar and if he does not listen then come to us.”

Last week, Anand had mentioned the matter before a vacation bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

The plea, filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, sought a direction to declare “Talaq-e-Hasan and all other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq”, unconstitutional for being arbitrary, irrational, and violative of Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 of the Constitution.

The plea also sought a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines for neutral uniform grounds of divorce and uniform procedure of divorce for all citizens.

The petitioner, who claimed to be a victim of “unilateral extra-judicial Talaq-e-Hasan”, also submitted a complaint to the Delhi Commission for Women in February this year and also lodged an FIR in April, but claimed that the police told her that Unilateral Extra Judicial Talaq-e-Hasan is permitted under Sharia.

The plea said: “The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, by providing for the application of Muslim personal law in matters relating to marriage where the parties are Muslims, conveys a wrong impression that the law sanctions Talaq-e-Hasan and all other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq, which is grossly injurious to the fundamental rights of married Muslim women and offends Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India and the international conventions on civil and human rights.”

The plea contended that the Constitution neither grants any absolute protection to the personal law of any community, nor exempts personal laws from the jurisdiction of the legislature or the judiciary.

The plea argued that the practice of Talaq-e-Hasan and other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq is neither harmonious with the modern principles of human rights and gender equality, nor an integral part of Islamic faith.

“Many Islamic nations have restricted such practice, while it continues to vex the Indian society in general and Muslim women like the petitioner in particular. It is submitted that the practice also wreaks havoc to lives of many women and their children, especially those belonging to the weaker economic sections of the society,” it added.

20220530-162004

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