The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Central government’s answer to a review petition challenging the practice of ‘Talaq-Ul-Sunnat,’ or a Muslim husband’s absolute discretion to divorce his wife without prior notice. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, which criminalises quick triple talaq, does not make the other kinds of talaq illegal, according to the Centre. The division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh issued notice to the Centre, requesting a response within eight weeks and setting a hearing date for May 2.
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On September 23, the court dismissed a similar petition submitted by a Muslim lady who feared her husband might divorce her, saying that the request was utterly misconceived in light of the 2019 law, particularly its section designating talaq as illegal. Talaq al-sunnah, which also includes the husband’s proclamation of ‘talaq,’ is revocable since it includes a waiting period before it can be regarded final.
What is Talaq ul Sunnat ?
This form of Talaq is based on the Prophet’s tradition (Sunna) and as such is considered as a most approved form of Talaq. Talaq was in fact considered as an evil and in case it became/becomes impossible to avoid this evil then the best method is Talaq-ul-Sunnat, wherein there is a possibility of revoking the effects of this evil.
It is also called revocable Talaq for the reason that Talaq does not become final at once and there always remains a possibility of compromise between the husband and wife. Only this kind of Talaq was in practice during the life of the Prophet. This mode of Talaq is recognized both by Sunnis as well as by the Shia’s.
The Centre’s lawyer, Monika Arora, told the court that while one form of talaq (instant talaq) had been declared illegal, the other two were not covered by the 2019 Act. “It was made an offence by an Act of Parliament if you spoke ‘talaq’ one after the other.”
But if you say it three times in three months, or with a break, it is still not declared illegal,” Arora argued, as he requested more time to prepare a government response. The petitioner had filed a review case against the September 23 HC ruling, seeking clarification on whether talaq al-sunnah also falls within the scope of talaq under Section 2 (c) of 2019 law.
While recalling the dismissal order passed last year, The court said it proceeded on the idea that talaq al-sunnah is covered by the 2019 Act on the assumption that talaq al-sunnah is likewise a pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written, in electronic form or in any other method. However, the court stated that it appears that talaq al-sunnah is not covered by the 2019 law’s definition of talaq.