Plea challenges Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act provision

A petition in the Delhi High Court has challenged a provision of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, claiming it discriminates against Muslim women as it allegedly permits dissolution of a marriage if the husband renounces Islam or converts to another faith, but not if the wife does so.

The petition filed by Delhi residents Tuba Kamil and Hari Mudgil have challenged Section 4 of the Act contending that the wife cannot claim a decree of divorce on the ground of her conversion or renouncing of faith, rather she has to first establish any of the nine grounds given under Section 2 of the Act.

Second petitioner

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, before which the plea came up for hearing, said that it would first verify the bona fides of the second petitioner, as in another petition by him before the same Bench his name was Hari Kishan.

During the hearing, the man said that his official name was Hari Kishan and mention of ‘Hari Mudgil’ was a “clerical error”. He also showed his army identity card and said he was on leave from July 27 to August 26.

The High Court has directed him to place everything, including a copy of his identity card, on record by way of an affidavit and listed the matter on September 15.

The petition has contended that the law on dissolution of marriage for Muslims was discriminatory, as the wife first has to establish any of the nine grounds given under Section 2 of the Act.

Nine grounds

The nine grounds in Section 2 of the Act include — whereabouts of the husband not known for a period of four years, the husband has neglected or has failed to provide for wife’s maintenance for a period of two years, the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven years or upwards and the husband has failed to perform, without reasonable cause, his marital obligations for a period of three years.

“But for a husband, there is no such requirement to obtain a decree,” the petition has said.

It has further stated that the provision to get a decree of divorce, after renouncing Islam, by establishing one of the nine grounds given in Section 2 of the Act is not available to a woman who had converted to Islam from another faith and then re-embraces her former religion.

This leads to discrimination between women who were born in the religion of Islam and those who converted to it, the petition said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 2:50:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/plea-challenges-dissolution-of-muslim-marriage-act-provision/article32397225.ece

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