On Monday, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) made an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the law that criminalizes instant “triple talaq”. The Muslim  Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 makes “talaq-e-biddat” or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instant and irrevocable divorce asserted by a Muslim husband void and illegal.

Pronouncing talaq three times in spoken, writing through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat in one sitting will be considered as illegal by the Act. It also ruled that any Muslim husband who pronounces the illegal form of talaq upon his wife is to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also have to pay fine. 

AIMPLB and Kamal Faruqui made the appeal challenging the Constitutional validity of the Act on the basis that it is manifestly arbitrary and offends Articles 14, 15, 20 and 21 of the Constitution and makes wrongful interference in the Muslim Personal Law as applicable to Hanafi Muslims.

The plea stated, “The impugned Act is a criminal statute having an adverse impact on the life and personal liberty of those on whom penal consequences are to be visited. It is the elementary principle of law that any act or omission which is dealt with penal consequences should be defined with accuracy and precision.”

“A Muslim husband whose act or omission may be visited with penal consequences must have fair notice of ingredients of act or omission that is declared criminal so that such person can organize his affairs in such a way to avoid any conflict with law,” the added.

“Consequently, despite such utterances, marriage survives. Therefore, it was totally redundant and irrational to declare statutorily the practice of talaq-e-biddat as void.” 

“Secondly, section 3 of the Impugned Act also suffers from internal contradiction because if any act which is declared void has no existence in the eyes of law and it is redundant and contradictory to declare non-existent act illegal. The section, therefore, suffers from manifest arbitrariness as it makes provision of law which is totally unnecessary,” the plea said.

On July 30, 2017, the Supreme Court had put an end of the practice of instant triple talaq. The Act was passed by Parliament on July 30. Previously, the top court allowed investigating the validity of the newly elected law on a batch of petitions which sought to declare the Act as unconstitutional. 

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