New Delhi, Oct 15 : The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre’s response over a petition filed by a Muslim man, booked for pronouncing triple talaq, challenging certain sections of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, penalising the practice.
A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar directed the Central government to file its response on the petition filed by Nadeem Khan, who is booked under the Act’s Section 4 and also for voluntarily causing hurt.
Advocate Tarun Chandok, representing the petitioner, prayed before the court to declare Section 4 as void ab initio, ultra vires, unconstitutional, discriminatory and violative to the fundamental rights of Muslim men.
However, the bench said that it would wait for the judgment of the Supreme Court before proceeding further in the matter, noting that the issues raised in the present petition are also pending consideration before the apex court.
Posting the matter sine die, the division bench, however, granted liberty to the parties to move an application as and when the decision of the Supreme Court comes on the said issue.
The bench, at this stage, refused to grant any interim relief to petitioner’s plea seeking to stay all FIRs registered under Section 4 across Delhi.
It also denied to grant any interim relief to petitioner, who sought direction to the Commissioner of Police to restrain him from registering FIRs alleging the commission of offence under Section 4 of the Act during the pendency of the writ petition.
“Firstly, we may notice that the present petition is not in the nature of a PIL. Therefore, for the petitioner to seek a general relief in respect of all cases where Section 4 of the aforesaid Act may be invoked, is not permissible,” the court said while also refusing petitioner’s submission to refer the matter to a larger bench.
“Legislation is presumed to be valid, unless it is declared to be invalid, or unconstitutional by a competent court, and is struck down. Prima facie it appears to us that the object of Section 4 of the aforesaid Act is to discourage the age old and traditional practice of pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife by resort to talaq-e-biddat i.e. triple talaq,” the court said, adding that the purpose of Section 4 appears to provide a deterrent against such practice.
“Merely because triple talaq has been declared to be void and illegal, it does not mean that the legislature could not have made the continuation of such practice an offence. This is our prima facie view,” the court said while declining to grant any relief.
Under Section 4 of the Act, any Muslim husband, who pronounces talaq referred to in section 3, upon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
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