Talaq on valid grounds only: J&K HC judge

New Delhi, Nov. 1 -- A Jammu and Kashmir high court judge has ruled that a husband's right to 'talaq', or divorce under the Islamic laws, is not "absolute and unqualified".

Justice Hasnain Massodi, in a judgment that could spark a debate among the clergy, sections of which haven't always welcomed pronouncements on Muslim marriages, said a Muslim man's declaration of divorce must have "valid and genuine" grounds.

Under the Shariat Act of 1937, which extends Islamic laws to Indian Muslims, a husband can divorce his legally wedded wife by pronouncing 'talaq' thrice.

Justice Mossadi ruled that 'talaq' ought to be invoked only if adequate efforts at reconciliation had failed.

It also required the presence of two witnesses, he ruled. Religious scholars headed by the grand mufti have now called a meeting on the issue.

Tahir Mahmood, a renowned Muslim law expert and former member of the Law Commission of India, said the ruling matched the "accepted legal position".

He said, "The Hadith, one of the scriptures used for Islamic laws, states that of all permissible things in Islam, the one most detestable to God is divorce."

The ruling is in line with three previous Supreme Court judgements, he added.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.