Two weeks after the first case in the state under the newly passed Act against triple talaq was filed, the 33-year-old accused approached the Bombay High Court seeking anticipatory bail stating that it was a matrimonial dispute with his wife and he was ready to go for mediation. Justice Revati Mohite Dere earlier this week granted him interim protection till the next date of hearing.
This was the first case in the state filed under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, passed by the Parliament last month. The case was filed by Mumbra police against the man, his mother and sister, with other sections including 498A (cruelty to women), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code.
On August 5, the Thane sessions court, while allowing the pre-arrest bail to the accused’s mother and sister, had rejected the man’s pre-arrest bail plea ‘considering the seriousness of the case’.
In his application and through submissions made before the Bombay High Court through his lawyer Aamir Shaikh, the accused said it was a “matrimonial dispute” between him and his wife. He further submitted that he was well aware that the talaq given by him in November 2018 was “illegal and invalid” in view of the new legislation.
“That the pronouncement of triple talaq is unconstitutional and void and the complainant (victim) has alternate remedy before the family court as well as under…the Code of Civil Procedure… That this dispute is on account of matrimonial discord,” the application states.
On Tuesday, the woman was present in the High Court with her six-month-old child and sought to be made party to the application. The court allowed her to be added as a respondent to the case and gave her time to engage a lawyer.
The court said in the meantime, the accused could be granted interim protection on five terms and conditions, including that he should report to the investigating officer for the probe and deposit his passport. It also directed him to not put anything ‘derogatory’ against his wife on any social media website.
According to the FIR, the couple got married on September 7, 2015. The woman alleged that after their marriage, the accused demanded a motorcyle. The accused, however, claimed that money was sought as a loan and was returned to her. Further, the FIR alleges that within a month of their marriage, while the accused went to Dubai for work, in his absence his mother and sister harassed her and on his return did not allow her to reside with him. According to the woman’s complaint, on November 30, 2018, the complainant received a WhatsApp message from her husband’s number, which said, “Talak dera hu main tko talak talak talak.” He allegedly also sent a screenshot of the message to her mother. The accused alleged that the FIR filed by the police was an “afterthought” and that the allegations against him of harassment were false.
Under the new Act, any form of instant talaq, either spoken, in writing or sent through electronic means, is illegal and has provisions for a prison term up to three years for the husband. The woman had filed an application before the Thane commissioner’s office, seeking that a case be filed under the new Act against the accused.