Uniform Civil Code Alone can Liberate Muslim Women of India from the Curse of Islamic Polygamy and Easy Divorce

The Land mark Judgment by Delhi High Court: According a report appeared in the October 29, 2007, edition of the Indian Express, a leading English daily, Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed of the Delhi High Court, ruled, “If a talaq is pronounced in extreme anger where the husband has lost control of himself, it would not be effective or valid.” There is no doubt that verdict had provided great relief to the Muslim women across the country.

His Lordship also observed that, triple talaq or talaq-e-bidat (divorce in one go by merely repeating the term ‘talaq’ thrice) is sinful but valid and such a mode for dissolution of Islamic marriages had caused “extreme misery to the divorced women and even to men, who are left with no chance to undo the wrong or any scope to bring about a reconciliation.” While issuing an injunction on courts that the Muslim Personal Law would supersede any contrary customs or usage, followed in dissolution of marriages, Justice Ahmed said, “From henceforth, triple talaq would only mean a single pronouncement of ‘talaq, revocable by the husband or wife if they decide to reconciliation.” “This is for the first time that a court has made “attempts for reconciliation” mandatory after pronouncement of Talaq.

Till now, efforts for reconciliation, if any, were to precede the divorce pronouncement”, says Krishnadas Rajagopal, an observer. “Differing with the present law that expiry of the iddat period, or three menstrual courses, would act as the deadline for estranged spouses to save their marriages, the court held that couples could still settle their differences by contracting a fresh marriage even after the period was over”,

Mr Rajagopal added. It is needless to say that the court, through the above verdict, had set aside talaq-e-bidat and asserted that mere pronouncement of talaq did not ipso facto, or on the face of the act, amount to dissolution of marital tie between the spouses. The court also observed, “The wife upon whom talaq has been pronounced has the right of residence as well as of maintenance and she cannot be disturbed, she continues to be the wife of the man in the iddat period during the marital tie remains in suspense.

” Thus the court formalized the status of the divorced woman so that she could not be driven out by the husband like a domestic animal. The court was hearing a bail petition of a young man who, in the absence of his wife, declared talaq in anger after a marital dispute, but later resumed conjugal relation with her, forgetting the fact that he had divorced her.

The marriage soured again and the wife, Ayesha Anjum, left the matrimonial home along with their minor daughter. It was only then, when she returned to her husband’s residence, she came to know that her husband had pronounced talaq against her in her absence. Following which she lodged a complaint of rape against her husband Masroor with the local Preet Vihar police station.

In her FIR, Ayesha alleged that her husband had played a fraud by subjecting her to sexual intercourse after divorcing her, in the guise of her lawful husband. But the court quashed the FIR, telling that Masroor’s pronouncement of talaq was in extreme anger and hence inoperative and therefore the offence of rape did not arise. But reacting sharply to the above ruling, Abdur Rahim Qureshi, the spokesperson and assistant general secretary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said, “Triple talaq is considered valid by all the four Sunni schools in India.

I differ with the High Court’s order. Triple talaq pronounced in one sitting is valid and immediately enforceable. It is not revocable as held by the court.” But it is really amusing to note that the judge, who delivered the said ruling, was also a Muslim. However, Mr Qureshi agreed with Justice Ahmed’s ruling that talaq declared in ‘frenzy’ would remain invalid. While commenting on the said High Court order, Syed Shahabuddin, a senior member of AIMPLB and the editor of Muslim India, said, “The battle is between those who go by the practice of talaq in one sitting and others who believe that such a mode of talaq is not according to the Quran. …

The High Court order reflects the correct interpretation of triple talaq – an issue which is the subject of debate in the AIMPLB itself. Every pronouncement of talaq should be interspersed with proper intervals for affording couples an opportunity to reconcile.

I support the order of the Delhi High Court in principle wholeheartedly.” (One may find the full text of the verdict at: http://delhicourts.nic.in/Oct07/Masroor%20Ahmed%20Vs.%20State.pdf ) It is important to note here that, in 2004, Morocco, by the initiative of the foreign educated King Muhammad VI, adopted a progressive family status code which grants both sexes equal rights to seek divorce and to argue before a judge for custody of children.

It also has placed such tight conditions on polygamy as to render the practice virtually impossible. The Supreme Court Quashed the Allah’s Law of Hilla Marriage: Sheikh Sher Mohammad, alias Sheru, a mechanic by profession, a resident of Kantabania in the district of Bhadrak in Orissa, was separated from his wife Najma (27) in July 2003, when he was drunk and pronounced “talaq, talaq, talaq” to his wife in a fit of anger.

Sheru, a father of four children, pleaded that he did not want to divorce his wife, but the community declared that they could not live together unless Najma went for halala or hilla marriage, lived with the new husband, got divorced and then observed three months and ten days of iddat.


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