The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to accord an urgent hearing on a plea that has sought to declare the practice of ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ and all other forms of “unilateral extra-judicial talaq” as void and unconstitutional claiming them to be arbitrary and irrational.
A vacation bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Bela M Trivedi asked the counsel, who mentioned the matter for urgent listing, to mention it before the bench next week.
In ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’, talaq is pronounced once a month, over three months. If cohabitation is not resumed during this period, divorce gets formalised after the third utterance in the third month. However, if cohabitation resumes after the first or second utterance of ‘talaq’, the parties are assumed to have reconciled and the pronouncement of ‘talaq’ in the first or second instance is treated as having been revoked. A Muslim woman has filed the plea, through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, and also sought a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines for gender and religion-neutral uniform grounds and procedure of divorce for all citizens.
Senior advocate Pinky Anand mentioned the matter for urgent listing and told the bench that the petition relates to a challenge to ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’.
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She said two notices have been issued to the petitioner for ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ through the lawyer and the third notice will be the final one.
“When was the notice issued?” the bench asked.
The senior lawyer said the first notice was issued on April 19 and now, the second notice has been issued.
“We will keep it on the re-opening. There is no urgency,” the bench observed.
The counsel said by that time, everything will be over.
“All right, you can mention it in the next week,” the bench said, adding, “You can take your chance next week”.
In her plea, the petitioner has said that the practice of ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ and other forms of “unilateral extra-judicial talaq” is “neither harmonious with the modern principles of human rights and gender equality nor an integral part of the Islamic faith”.
It claimed that many Islamic nations have restricted such practice, while it “continues to vex” the Indian society in general and Muslim women like the petitioner in particular.
The plea has also sought to declare section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 as void and unconstitutional for allegedly being violative of Articles 14, 15, 21, and 25 of the Constitution in so far as it validates the practice of ‘Talaq-e-Hasan’ and other forms of “unilateral extra-judicial talaq”.