LUCKNOW: When Hina (23) and her husband, 30 years her senior, hailing from Bulandshahr district in western Uttar Pradesh, moved the Allahabad High Court seeking a direction to police and her mother to stop harassing them, the least did they expect that the move would backfire on them.
The twist came when it was revealed in the court that the man had married Hina after effecting triple talaq to his first wife.
Questioning the moral integrity of the couple, a single judge bench of Justice Suneet Kumar at the Allahabad High Court called triple talaq a form of instant divorce and “cruel” and “most demeaning”. It “impedes and drags India from becoming a nation,” it said.
The court, however, made it clear that it was not disputing the contention that the couple are adults and are at liberty to choose their own partner and that they “can’t be deprived of their right to life and personal liberty” as per the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
“What is disturbing is that the instrument of instant divorce (triple talaq) has been used for ulterior purpose (by the man) for divorcing his wife....first petitioner (the woman) left her family and joined the company of the second petitioner and consequently the second petitioner decided to get rid of his first wife”.
“Should their personal law remain so cruel towards these unfortunate wives? Whether the personal law can be amended suitably to alleviate their sufferings? The judicial conscience is disturbed at this monstrosity”, the court said.
“Muslim law, as applied in India, has taken a course contrary to the spirit of what the Prophet or the Holy Quran laid down and the same misconception vitiates the law dealing with the wife’s right to divorce”, he had said on November 5.
The court remarked that it was popular fallacy that a Muslim husband enjoys, under Quranic law, unbridled authority to liquidate the marriage. The view that the man enjoys an arbitrary, unilateral power to inflict instant divorce does not concur with Islamic injunctions, Justice Kumar had said.
Reacting to the order, the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board said that it would file a petition against the order.
And prominent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad said the issue would be resolved by the religious leaders and that any “interference in Sharia”, by anyone, would not tolerated.
However, welcoming the high court ruling, All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board chairperson Shaista Ambar, said that at last justice was done.
“Even Sharia accords all rights to women but they are denied by the Maulvis and Ulemas who have interpreted the law as per their own convenience,” said Ambar.