The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally observed that the practice of Talaq-e-Hasan among Muslims for divorce is prima facie not improper, and added that it does not want this to become an agenda for any other reason.
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said prima facie the court is of the opinion that Talaq-e-Hasan is not very improper. “Prima facie this (Talaq-e-Hasan) is not so improper. Women also have an option… Khula is there,” observed Justice Kaul.
The bench, also comprising Justice M.M. Sundresh, said prima facie it does not agree with the petitioner. Talaq-e-Hasan is the practice by which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by saying the word talaq once a month, for three months. “Don’t want this to become an agenda for any other reason,” said the bench.
Senior advocate Pinky Anand, appearing for the petitioner, contended that though the top court declared triple talaq unconstitutional, it left the issue of Talaq-e-Hasan undecided.
During the hearing, the bench observed that women also have a similar option by way of ‘Khula’ and courts also grant divorce by mutual consent in case of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. “This is not triple talaq…If two people cannot live together, we are also granting divorce by irretrievable breakdown of marriage,” said the bench.
The bench further queried that the petitioner’s counsel, was the petitioner open to divorce by mutual consent, if mehar is taken care of? The top court has scheduled the hearing on the matter on August 29 and asked the counsel to take instructions in the matter.
The top court was hearing a plea seeking 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 petition was filed by journalist Benazeer Heena through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.
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.