Kerala Muslim body challenges new law on Triple Talaq in Supreme Court

'Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema' claimed that the Act is violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and thus, is liable to be struck down.

Published: 02nd August 2019 09:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2019 09:43 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo | EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The newly enacted law which makes the practice of instant divorce through 'triple talaq' among Muslims a punishable offence was challenged in the Supreme Court on Friday.

A day after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, 'Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema', a religious organisation of Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics in Kerala, moved the top court seeking to declare it as unconstitutional.

"The Act has introduced penal legislation, specific to a class of persons based on religious identity.

It is causative of grave public mischief, which, if unchecked, may lead to polarization and disharmony in society," the plea said.

The organisation, claiming itself to be the largest Muslim organization in Kerala in terms of number of followers, submitted that the legislation is class specific to Muslims and the intent behind the Act is not abolition of Triple Talaq but punishment of Muslim husbands.

"Section 4 imposes a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment when a Muslim husband pronounces Triple Talaq. The offence is cognizable and non-bailable as per Section 7," the plea said.

It claimed that the Act is violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and thus, is liable to be struck down.

ALSO READ | Man booked under new triple talaq law in first such case in Haryana

The plea said that if the motive was to protect a Muslim wife in "an unhappy marriage", no reasonable person can believe that the means to ensure it is by putting an "errant husband in jail for three years and create a non-bailable offence for merely saying 'Talaq Talaq Talaq'".

The new law makes 'talaq-e-biddat' or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal.

It makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times -- spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat -- in one sitting.

"Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal," the law says.

While challenging the constitutional validity of the new law, the petitioners, including the organisation's general secretary Alikutty Musliyar, referred to section 1 (3) of the Act that gives a retrospective effect to it from September 19, 2018.

"Creation of an offence may be the prerogative of the legislature. The government is duty-bound to act reasonably and sensibly, not merely in administrative matters but sovereign matters. To petitioner's knowledge, there is no informed assessment or study that forms basis for the Central Government to have created this offence," the plea said.

ALSO READ | Delhi  HC recieves PIL challenging Triple Talaq law

The petition said there are statutorily prescribed procedures for divorce in other religions too and non-compliance of this procedure for divorce is not a punishable offence for members of other religions.

"There is no reasonableness or constitutional logic for making the procedural infirmity in effecting divorce a punishable offence for members of Muslim community alone and such legislation cannot withstand the test of Article 14," it said.

It said that a "welfare-oriented legislation" would not purport to criminalise marital discord and moreover, particularise the criminalisation only to one community.

"With respect, it is submitted that any such a legislation ought to shock the judicial conscience. The impugned Act is such an endeavour and ought to be struck down for violating Article 21," it said.

 

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp