Triple Talaq legally invalid, but that doesn't decriminalise the act: Delhi HC

'Law doesn't mean the legislature couldn't have made the practice an offence'

delhi-high-court-PTI [File image] Delhi High Court | PTI

A major contention against the Triple Talaq law is that since the Supreme Court has already declared the practice as legally invalid, how can a person be penalised for it, since even if he were to pronounce instant talaq, it did not have any sanctity and hence, would not result in a divorce. However, the Delhi High Court has stated in an order that merely because triple talaq has been declared as void and illegal, it does not mean that the legislature could not have made the continuation of the practice an offence.

A two-judge bench of the court comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar passed the order on October 13 while dealing with a petition filed by one Nadeem Khan seeking declaration of Section 4 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 as void, unconstitutional, discriminatory and violative of the rights of Muslim men.

The petitioner contended that once triple talaq has been rendered void and illegal, there is no justification for criminalising its pronouncement, since the instant talaq would not have any legal effect on the status of the marriage. It was argued by the petitioner that since it is of no consequence, and does not end marital status of the wife who may be subjected to triple talaq, there is no purpose of penalising it. 

The court, however, said that prima facie, it appears to it that the object of Section 4 of the act is to discourage the age-old and traditional practice of pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife by resorting to talaq-e-biddat or triple talaq. 

“The purpose of Section 4 appears to be to provide a deterrent against such practice. Merely because triple talaq has been declared to be void and illegal, it does not mean that the legislature could not have made the continuation of such practice an offence. This is our prima facie view,” the court said.

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