While the Shayara Bano’s verdict where the Supreme Court has invalidated the practice of instant triple talaq is being hailed as historic, it isn’t the first time when Muslim women have secured their rights vis-a-vis marriage, divorce and maintenance from the trial court, high court and even the Supreme Court of the country.
Here are the cases where triple talaq was invalidated more than a decade ago:
2002: Dagdu Latur vs. Rahimbi Dagdu Pathan, Ashabi:
Judgment: A full bench of the Bombay High Court held that a Muslim husband cannot dissolve a marriage at will and for triple talaq to be valid the facts of the due talaq procedure should be proved in court. Quoting Quran, it said a “mere statement of the husband or the proof in support thereof by way of Talaqnama or deed of divorce or certificate of divorce will not be sufficient to prove the factum of having exercised this power sometimes in the past”.
The court further stated that a valid divorce would require to be proven under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1820.
Facts: Rahimbi Dagdu, the respondent, had filed a petition under Section 125 (order by the court to provide maintenance for wife, children and parents) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and challenged her husband, Dagdu Latur, to provide her with maintenance post divorce. The petitioner, Latur, further appealed to the High Court of Bombay and contended that he has divorced his wife in 1996 by pronouncing triple talaq in the presence of a qazi and two witnesses.
2002: Shamim Ara vs. State of U.P. & Anr:
Judgment: Invalidating arbitrary triple talaq, the Supreme Court held that the facts leading to talaq was required to be proven and a mere document stating the date or events of talaq would not be considered as valid talaq.
“A plea of previous divorce taken in the written statement cannot at all be treated as pronouncement of talaq by the husband on wife on the date of filing of the written statement in the Court followed by delivery of a copy thereof to the wife.”
The court passed this ruling in order to break the custom of serving a Muslim wife with divorce capriciously and whimsically. The court held that the wife was liable to receive maintenance from the husband who is under an obligation to perform the duty.
Facts: Shamim Ara, the appellant, filed a petition under Section 125 of the Code seeking maintenance from Abrar Ahmed, the respondent, in 1979. In 1968, the couple married and had four sons. Ahmed, however, claimed he had divorced Shamim in 1987 and it is believed by the court that the said talaq was triple talaq.
2007: Masroor Ahmed vs. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr.:
Judgment: Holding instant talaq as invalid, the High Court of Delhi held that an utterance in one sitting passed as talaq-e-biddat can only be valid after the period of “iddat” reaches an end. The court said a clause where talaq-e-bidat or triple talaq would be considered as one revocable talaq.
Keeping in mind the possibility of reconciliation of married couples, the court justified its reason for making triple talaq a revocable talaq and stated, “..where a talaq is revocable, the attempts at reconciliation can take place even after the pronouncement. This is so, because, in a revocable talaq, the dissolution of marriage does not take place at the time of pronouncement but is automatically deferred till the end of the iddat period.”
Facts: Aisha Anjum, the respondent, was allegedly thrown out of her marital house after two years of marriage to Masroor Ahmed, the petitioner, on account of non-fulfilment of dowry demands. In 2006, Ahmed filed a petition seeking restitution of conjugal rights and six days after returning to her marital house, Anjum alleged to have found that her husband had already divorced her in the presence of his brother-in-law and another man by pronouncing triple talaq. She further alleged that her, now former husband, had committed rape on her as during that period she ceased to be his legally wedded wife. Anjum filed a complaint against Ahmed charging him of rape under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.