A Kerala based lawyer has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the legislation passed in 2019 to criminalize the practice of Triple Talaq. She is the first woman in person to file such a petition since Parliament has passed the legislation.
On July 6, Noorbena Rasheed has filed a petition challenging the Protection of Rights on Marriage Act, 2019 which criminalizes the Triple talaq, also known as Talaq-e-biddat, and entitles three years of imprisonment.
Three judge bench of Supreme Court had issued a notice to the centre on Monday and admitted the plea for hearing along with the other nine similar pleas questioning the validity of legislation. Other petitioners include organizations like Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Muslim Advocates Association, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and two other individuals. The apex court has not fixed the date of hearing yet.
The petitioner Rasheed has considered the law inappropriate and said, “The protection of women cannot be achieved by incarceration of husbands.”
Rasheed questions the provisions under the legislation which allow a relative to file a complaint against the husband. In her petition, she said that a false complaint can destroy a marital relationship. “This provision is highly detrimental not only to the wife but also to the marital relationship,” stated the petition.
Through her petition, Rasheed had also sought clarification from centre government on the assessment supporting incarcerating Muslim men for divorcing women and stated, “Welfare-oriented legislation would promote amicable resolution of matrimonial disputes rather than criminalize marital discord, particularly criminalization of only one community. The intent behind the Act is not the abolition of triple talaq but the punishment of Muslim husbands.”
Instant divorce/Triple Talaq/Talaq-e-Biddat, a heretical form of divorce based on a husband pronouncing divorce thrice in quick succession was declared unconstitutional by a five-judge SC bench in August 2017. The landmark judgment came after five women had filed a petition which was led by Shayra Bano. They were abandoned immediately after their husbands pronounced triple talaq with instant divorce.
Following the SC judgment, centre government has issued an ordinance in 2019 that criminalizes the Triple Talaq after months of intense debates in order to attain gender justice for Muslim women.