Muslim women must go to court to get divorce: Madras high court | India News


CHENNAI: Shariat councils are neither courts nor arbitrators of disputes authorised to rule on annulment of marriage, the Madras high court said Tuesday while advising Muslim women seeking legally valid “Khula (divorce)” to approach only family courts.
“While it is open for a Muslim woman to exercise her inalienable rights to dissolve the marriage by ‘Khula’, as recognised under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, it can be done only by approaching a family court,” Justice C Saravanan said, quashing a Khula certificate issued by a shariat council in 2017.
The judge directed the wife of the petitioner to approach the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority or a family court for a legal dissolution of her marriage by Khula. A certificate of annulment of marriage even under traditional law cannot be issued by “a self-declared body consisting of a few members of Jamath”, Justice Saravanan said.
In his petition, the husband had argued that “extra-judicial decrees such as a fatwa or a Khula certificate” had no legal sanction and could not be enforced by any individual or “private” entity.
Opposing the plea, the local shariat council contended that the Kerala high court had upheld the practice while hearing a similar case and, hence, the husband’s petition wasn’t maintainable.
Justice Saravanan rejected the contention, saying that the Kerala high court’s judgment “upheld only the Muslim woman’s right to unilateral divorce through Khula, but has not endorsed the involvement of private bodies like the shariat council”.
“Private bodies such as the shariat council cannot pronounce or certify dissolution of marriage by Khula,” he ruled.
Only family courts are empowered under Section 7(1)(b) of the Family Courts Act, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act and the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) to dissolve marriages, the court said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here