Talaqnama, or pronouncing the word ‘talaq’ thrice, is not enough for a valid divorce of a Muslim couple, the Bombay high court said while deciding a maintenance dispute between a Satara resident and his estranged wife. “The mere existence of a document like talaqnama is by no means sufficient to render a valid talaq,” said justice MS Sonak, while rejecting the man’s contention the divorce was valid and so he was not bound to pay maintenance.
“For a valid talaq, it is not sufficient that the prescribed expressions are pronounced thrice, but the stages it is preceded by are required to be pleaded and proved before the court, if disputed by the wife,” the judge said. The judge noted attempts at reconciliation are a pre-condition for a valid talaq. “There is neither any pleading nor any material to establish any arbiters or conciliators were appointed and that such arbiters or conciliators attempted reconciliation, with a view to explore the possibility of the continuance of marriage,” the judge said.
The woman approached a magistrate court seeking maintenance under section 125 of the CrPC, but the court at Karad rejected her plea in 2006. She approached the sessions court, which allowed her plea and in August 2007, ordered the husband to pay her Rs1,500 a month. The man approached the HC saying he had divorced her and under Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Divorce) Act, 1986, there was no obligation on him.