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Supreme Court to examine whether Muslim women have right to unilateral divorce through Khula

The Kerala High Court had in October 2022 upheld its April 2021 judgment where it had held that there is absolutely no need for a Muslim woman to approach the Court if her husband refuses Khula, as her right to the same is acknowledged by Islamic law.

The High Court had reiterated that it is not the guardian of any able adult woman in the country and that it cannot assume such a role to simply pronounce termination of marriage at the assistance of the woman.

It had underscored that the nature of khula is in the form of a ‘permissible’ action to a Muslim wife who seeks to exercise the option of terminating her marriage. As such, it cannot be conditional on the will of another.

The April 2021 ruling had overruled a 1972 verdict, to effectively restore the right of Muslim women to invoke extra-judicial divorce as set out in Muslim personal law.

The 2021 verdict made it clear that a Muslim woman has a right to obtain a divorce by Khula, regardless of her husband’s consent for the same, provided it satisfied the following conditions:

– A declaration of repudiation or termination of marriage by the wife;

– An offer to return dower or any other material gain received by her during marital tie; and

– An effective attempt for reconciliation was preceded before the declaration of khula.

The April 2021 judgment was upheld in October 2022 in a petition seeking review of its 2021 verdict.

These two High Court judgments, which went against the appellant-husband, led to the present petition before the top court.

The Kerala Muslim Jamaath has also filed an appeal in the matter.

Source: Barandbench

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