Mumbai: In a first, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted pre-arrest bail to a Muslim man, accused of giving instant divorce – triple talaq, to his wife. He is probably the first man in Maharashtra to face prosecution under the newly passed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Ordinance.
A single-judge bench of Justice Prakash Naik granted anticipatory bail to Intekhab Munshi, a resident of Vasai. He petitioned the bench after his wife lodged a criminal case against him for attempting to give her divorce through the now banned triple talaq.
Munshi was booked in accordance to the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by his wife on October 23, accusing him of divorcing her by pronouncing triple talaq. She claimed her husband had not divorced her as per ‘talaq-e-ahsan’ and instead pronounced the banned ‘talaq-e-biddat’ (triple talaq), which is banned under the new Ordinance. The Ordinance which criminalises triple talaq was passed in September this year.
The bill provides for three years rigorous imprisonment for Muslim men, who divorce their wives through the banned triple talaq method. In his defence, Munshi claimed to have followed the procedures and divorced his wife as per the talaq-e-ahsan, which provides for reconciliation between the couple. He accordingly, claimed to have sent three notices in three consecutive months (July, August and September 2018) intimating his wife of his decision to part ways.
The wife on the other hand, argued before the HC, her husband has given her instant talaq by serving a single notice only in September this year. She claimed to have not received any other notices, prior to the one in September, when he pronounced divorce, through a notice. Having considered the submissions, Justice Naik said, “At this preliminary stage, it will not be appropriate to go into the aspect of whether it was talaq-e-ahsan or talaq-e-biddat.
This aspect will have to looked into only after scrutinising the documents on record.” “I am of the considered opinion that till the documents are examined, Munshi is not required for custodial interrogation,” Justice Naik said while granting him the relief. The couple got married in 1998 and have three children. In May this year, Munshi took his wife to her parents’ house and subsequently, sent notice for divorce in in July after filing a suit in a Vasai court, seeking decree of divorce.