The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the practice of divorce in Muslims through ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ is different from triple talaq as the women also have an option of ‘khula’. ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ refers to the practice of divorce under Islam which is pronounced once a month over a period of three months, while “khula” refers to the process that allows a woman to part ways with her husband.
A top court bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh was hearing a plea seeking to declare ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ and all other forms of “unilateral extra-judicial talaq as void and unconstitutional”. The plea argued that these forms of divorce were arbitrary, irrational, and violative of fundamental rights.
“This (Talaq-e-Hasan) is not triple talaq in that sense. Marriage being contractual in nature, you also have an option of khula. If two people cannot live together, we are also granting divorce on ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage (under Article 142 of the Constitution). Are you open to divorce by mutual consent if ‘mehar’ (gift given in cash or kind by groom to bride) is taken care of?” the apex court said, according to PTI.
Appearing for the petitioner Benazeer Heena, senior advocate Pinky Anand submitted that though the Supreme Court has declared triple talaq unconstitutional, it left the issue of Talaq-E-Hasan undecided.
“Prima facie, I don’t agree with petitioners. I don’t want this to become an agenda for any other reason,” the bench observed.
The SC then asked Anand to seek instructions on whether the petitioner, in view of the allegation of an irrevocable breakdown of marriage, is willing for a settlement by process of divorce on an amount being paid over and above ‘mehar’, PTI reported.
The bench also told the petitioner that the dissolution of marriage is possible without the top court’s intervention through ‘mubarat’ and asked her counsel to seek instructions. The matter will now be heard on August 29.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Ghaziabad resident Heena who claimed to be a victim of Talaq-E-Hasan. The petitioner also sought a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines for neutral and uniform grounds of divorce and procedure for all citizens.
A divorce gets formalised after the third utterance in the third month under Talaq-e-Hasan if cohabitation is not resumed during this period. However, if cohabitation resumes after the first or second utterance of talaq, the parties are assumed to have reconciled and the first or second utterances of talaq are deemed invalid.
(With PTI inputs)