The Supreme Court has agreed to examine if the newly-enacted Triple Talaq law is valid. As per the law, the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is now a punishable offence that entails imprisonment of up to three years.
The apex court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response on three petitions which had challenged the constitutional validity of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.
A bench of justices NV Ramana and Ajay Rastogi issued notice the Centre on a batch of petitions which has sought to declare The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019 as “unconstitutional” on grounds that it allegedly violates the provisions of the Constitution.
Appearing for a Muslim organisation, senior advocate Salman Khurshid said there was no need to criminalise triple talaq as it had already been declared unconstitutional.
Advocate Ejaz Maqbool, who represented Jamiat Ulaima-i-Hind, said the new law defined “talaq” to mean “talaq-e-biddat” or something similar having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband.
“Pertinently, such a form of divorce had already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court vide its judgment dated August 22, 2017, rendered in Shayara Bano v. Union of India,” said the petition, adding that the top court did not express any opinion to criminalise the pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband.
“We will examine this,” the bench told senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who was appearing for one of the petitioners.
Khurshid told the bench that there were many dimensions, including making the practice a punishable offence and jail term of up to three years, which was required to be examined by the top court.
The triple talaq law which criminalises the pronouncement of talaq was passed by the Centre on July 31.
After the Lower and the Upper House passed the Triple Talaq Bill, President Ram Nath Kovind on August 1, gave his go-ahead which made the practice of giving instant triple talaq a criminal offence.
The Supreme Court had on August 2017 declared “triple talaq” unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality before the law and directed the government to enact a law on the issue.