A former municipal councillor, a city-based NGO and an advocate have jointly approached the Bombay High Court challenging provisions of an ordinance that makes the practice of instant triple talaq a punishable offence. President Ram Nath Kovind had last Wednesday signed the ordinance, according to which giving instant triple talaq has been made illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Seeking to allay fears that the law could be misused, the government also included some safeguards in it, such as providing for bail to the accused husband. However, the petition moved last Friday by former municipal councillor and social worker Masood Ansari, NGO 'Rising Voice Foundation' and advocate Devendra Mishra, claims that provisions of the ordinance are "illegal, null, void, unreasonable and arbitrary".
"The very construction of the ordinance shows that it selectively targets men from the Muslim religion. The provisions of the ordinance are violative of fundamental rights of Muslim men," the petitioners' lawyer, Tanveer Nizam, said. The petition has sought an interim stay on those sections of the ordinance which criminalises the act of pronouncing talaq by a Muslim husband. It is likely to come up for hearing before a division bench on September 28, according to the high court's website. The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or 'talaq-e-biddat' and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children. A woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.