A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking to declare 'Talaq-e-Hasan' and all other forms of "unilateral extra-judicial talaq" as void and unconstitutional, claiming they were arbitrary, irrational, and violated fundamental rights.

The petition, filed by Ghaziabad resident, Benazeer Heena, who claims to be a victim of unilateral extra-judicial Talaq-E-Hasan, also seeks a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines for neutral and uniform grounds of divorce and procedure for all citizens.

In Talaq-e-Hasan, talaq is pronounced once a month, over a period of three months. If cohabitation is not resumed during this period, divorce gets formalised after the third utterance in the third month. However, if cohabitation resumes after the first or second utterance of talaq, the parties are assumed to have reconciled. The first/second utterances of talaq are deemed invalid.

Petitioner says that her parents were compelled to give dowry and that later she was tortured for not getting big dowry. As per the petition, Petitioner's husband and his family members tortured her physically-mentally not only after the marriage but also during the pregnancy which made her seriously ill. "When Petitioner's father refused to give dowry then her husband gave her Unilateral Extra-Judicial Talaq-E-Hasan through a Lawyer, which is totally against Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and UN Conventions", says the petition.

The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 "conveys a wrong impression that the law sanctions the practices of Talaq-E-Hasan and other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq, which is grossly injurious to the fundamental rights of the married Muslim women and offends Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 and UN Convention", states the petition filed by Advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.

It further claims that many Islamic nations have restricted such a practice, while it continues to vex the Indian society in general and Muslim women like the petitioner in particular. The practice also wreaks havoc on many women and their children, especially those belonging to the weaker economic sections of the society, the plea says.

"Muslim women can't give Talaq-E-Hasan & other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq but Muslim men can. Such discrimination and inequality hoarsely expressed in form of polygamy is abominable when seen in light of the progressive times of the 21st century", says the petition.

The petition says that Talaq-E-Hasan and other forms of unilateral extra-judicial talaq are an evil plague similar to sati. "Unfortunately, even in 21st century, it continues to vex Muslim women notwithstanding that such practice poses extremely serious health social economic moral and emotional risks", it is said.

"It is submitted that the citizens of India who followed religions other than Islam also traditionally practiced polygamy, but the same was prohibited not only because laws dealing with marriage are not a part of religion, but also because the law has to change with time and ensure a life of dignity unmarred by discrimination on the basis of gender", the petition says.

Click here to read/download the Writ Petition