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Making his first appearance in court in three years to answer charges of domestic violence and marrying another woman without divorcing the first, a man stunned his wife — and a Delhi court room — when he announced he had divorced her through triple talaq almost four years ago. She had no idea he had given her talaq. Last Friday, in the mahila court of Metropolitan Magistrate Neha Paliwal in Tis Hazari, the 35-year-old man, a scrap dealer in Old Delhi who earns Rs 2 lakh a month, faced his wife, a 28-year-old, for the first time in three years. He then announced he had filed a document: “The respondent has given talaq to the applicant on 22 September, 2013. Talaqnama is enclosed herewith.” Advocate Shubra Mendiratta, counsel for the woman, said: “For three years, he did not appear at a single hearing. Now he says that he has given talaq. It is only in the court that the woman has been told that her husband has given talaq. We will challenge the authenticity of the document. More importantly, we will challenge the triple talaq.”
As the Supreme Court prepares to hold daily sittings from May 11 on the legality of triple talaq, this woman is now preparing to fight her own legal battle against triple talaq before the designated mahila court. The case dates back to 2014 when the woman moved the mahila court, alleging that she was “physically tortured and abused”, and sought legal action under the Domestic Violence Act. She also sought maintenance, and told the court that her husband had married another woman without divorcing her.
“That on 22 July, 2014, the aggrieved person came to know that the respondent has again married. That the respondent neither has given any divorce nor maintainence nor has returned the Istridhan, dowry articles but he has remarried,” documents filed in court stated. Her husband has now told the court that he pronounced talaq on September 29, 2013. He has also claimed he settled the mahr amount of Rs 25,000 on the first night of the marriage.
“As per Muslim law, I am sending a sum of Rs 6,000 by way of separate money order for maintenance of 3 months for Iddat period,” the document filed by the man stated. Mahr is a mandatory payment, in the form of money or possessions paid or promised to pay by the groom, or by groom’s father, to the bride at the time of marriage, that legally becomes her property. While iddat is the period a woman must observe after a divorce, during which she may not marry another man.
Court documents revealed that these papers were filed after the court had imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 for not filing a proper reply. “Only the father has appeared before the court and filed a reply. The court then imposed a fine. Only after this, the man has come forward and suddenly filed a talaqnama in his defence. For three years, no such document was filed,” advocate Mendiratta said.