NEW DELHI: Even after the Supreme Court declared triple talaq (instant divorce) as illegal, many Muslim women are suffering due to irregular divorces given under talaq-e-hasan in collusion with qazis, petitioner Benazir Heena told the Supreme Court on Monday.

Heena has challenged the validity of talaq-e-hasan and its unilateral illegal use by Muslim men to annul their marriages to leave women in lurch. “I am a journalist and many helped me to put forth my case before the Supreme Court. I know of 15-20 Muslim women in villages who are suffering silently and without any means to fend for themselves,” she told a bench of Justices Sanjay K Kaul and AS Oka.

The bench said, “This is the reason why we will decide the larger issue about the validity of talaq-e-hasan.” The bench said the meher amount, given to the divorced women by her erstwhile husband as per the marriage agreement (contract), is too low and that the court would go into its adequacy. Meher is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time of an Islamic marriage.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Heena, said the meher amount is too low.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Heena, suggested that the SC could implead the petitioner’s husband, an advocate, as a party as she still wanted the husband to take care of her and their child. Heena said the talaq was pronounced to her through the husband’s friend. The SC impleaded the husband as a party and asked him to respond on October 11.

Justices Kaul and Oka said Islam provides for talaq-e-hasan, but it requires to be ensured that the procedure mandated is scrupulously followed. “Many a time while deciding the larger issue, the victims of circumstances and practice do not get immediate relief. That is the reason why we have issued notice to your husband.”

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar said his client Nazreen Nisha Kadir Shaikh, too, faced a fate similar to that of Heena. Kumar said talaq was pronounced twice at a go on WhatsApp and the third one again over WhatsApp.

The SC said that under talaq-e-hasan, the talaqs have to be pronounced thrice at an interval of a month between two pronouncements and as the procedure has not been followed, divorce appears irregular. Kumar said the woman went to a qazi, who validated the pronouncements made by her husband. The SC also issued notice to her husband. Kumar said the woman is divorced without any maintenance.

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