Husband can reject Khula demand: Muslim Personal Law Board 

The husband reserves the right to accept or reject a woman’s demand for Khula, says board in the wake of Kerala HC verdict

November 03, 2022 10:33 pm | Updated November 04, 2022 01:12 am IST - NEW DELHI

Photo: Twitter/@AIMPLB_Official

Photo: Twitter/@AIMPLB_Official

In a move likely to have far reaching ramifications, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Thursday pronounced that a Muslim woman does not enjoy a unilateral right to end her marriage through Khula. According to the Board, the husband reserves the right to accept or reject her demand for Khula.

In a statement, the Board stated “Khula is dependent on both husband and wife agreeing to end marriage after a woman initiates the proposal”. “If the man does not agree to Khula, the woman has the right to go in for faskh or judicial divorce,“ Khalid Saifullah Rehmani, general secretary, AIMPLB, stated.

The Board’s response comes in the wake of Kerala High Court verdict earlier this week wherein the court reiterated its stand of a Muslim woman’s right to end marriage through Khula, a man enjoying no right to withhold his consent. Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice C.S. Dias stated, “In the absence of any mechanism in the country to recognize the termination of marriage at the instance of the wife when the husband refuses to give consent, the court can simply hold that Khula can be invoked without the conjunction of the husband. This is a typical review portraying that Muslim women are subordinate to the will of their male counterparts. This review doesn’t look innocuous at the instance of the appellant but rather appears to have been fashioned and supported by clergies and the hegemonic masculinity of the Muslim community who are unable to digest the declaration of the right of Muslim women to resort to the extrajudicial divorce of Khula, unilaterally.”

The Board accused the court of exceeding its brief. “The court was supposed to take a call on the basis of the Shariah Application Act, 1937. Unfortunately, the court seemed to exceed its brief on interpretation of the law. The court has no authority to add to or amend the law.“

According to Mr. Rehmani, a Muslim marriage can be ended through three ways, notably Talaq, pronounced by man, Khula initiated by a woman and Faskh, judicial divorce.

Incidentally, in the ongoing Talaq-e-Hassan case, the Supreme Court had made an oral observation, drawing a parallel between Khula and Talaq-e-Hassan stating that just as a woman enjoys unilateral right to Khula, a man too has a unilateral right to give Talaq-e-Hassan.

The Board, however, insists that man has the final word in case of Khula which is an instant form of divorce right available to a Muslim woman.

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