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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

"Talaq in Shia sect valid only if it's said in Arabic": HC

The Milli Gazette Online

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court on February 17 observed that a "talaq' (divorce) in Shia sect of Muslim community was valid only if it was uttered in Arabic language in the presence of two reliable witnesses. 

The court's observation came while quashing the judgement of a family court which had ruled that the 'talaq' was valid if it was prounced three times in presence of two witnesses. 

A single judge bench of Justice Shailendra Saxena said that in accrdance with the Shia law the 'talaq' has to be pronunced in Arabic in the presence of two reliable witnesses. 

The services of an agent could be taken if the husband did not know Arabic. It is only if nobody knowing Arabic was available that the talaq could be pronunced in any other language, the court said. 

In the instant case, the divorce had not been pronunced in Arabic though Arabic-knowing people were available in abundance and hence it could not be said to be valid, the court observed. 

Further, two lawyers in whose presence the talaq was pronunced in the case also could not be considered as witnesses, the court said. 

In the present case, the husband had pronounced talaq three times in another language in the presence of two lawyers and thereafter refused to pay maintainence to the wife on the ground that he had already divorced her.

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