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Family Courts lack the authority to enjoin someone from performing talaq or a second marriage in accordance with personal law: Kerala High Court

Family Courts lack the authority to enjoin someone from performing talaq or a second marriage in accordance with personal law is upheld by the Kerala High Court in the case of Anvarudeen v. Sabina, OP (FC) No. 394 of 2022 through Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque.

FACTS OF THE CASE

The respondent was married by the petitioner-husband, a Muslim by faith, in accordance with Muslim religious rites and ceremonies. Later on, when the marriage connection got strained, he took efforts to pronounce Talaq and pronounced first and second Talaq. He was, however, prevented from saying the irrevocable Talaq by a Family Court decision of interim injunction.

The wife had requested that the said order be made, and it had been. The wife had also requested that the Family Court grant her request to prevent her husband from getting married a second time. As a result, the petitioner-husband challenged the Family Court’s contested order.

JUDGMENT

The Court stated that there is no doubt that any aggrieved party can challenge an action arising out of the exercise of faith and practise, but that stage would arise only after the performance of the act. The Court observed that prohibiting someone from acting in accordance with personal belief and practise would amount to infringing upon his constitutionally protected rights. In holding that the Court’s jurisdiction is restricted in these types of proceedings, the Court stated that family Court is unable to stop someone from acting in accordance with personal law.

The Court noted that the act for which a complaint had been made—invoking an irrevocable invocation of Talaq had not yet taken place. It would not be possible to determine whether the act in question was in compliance with the personal law’s procedure until the process and Talaq-related laws had been fully completed. The Family Court’s handling of the case infuriated the court, which stated that it was sad that the petitioner had been prevented from acting in accordance with his personal beliefs and practises before the act could be done.

Regarding the decree prohibiting the petitioner from entering a second marriage, the Court stated that personal law precludes the right to marry more than one individual at a time. The Court has no authority to rule that a person should not act in accordance with his or her personal conscience and beliefs in line with his or her religious practises if the law provides for such protection.

The Family Court was reminded of its limited authority, and the court ruled that it was not the place of the courts to control or prohibit people’s behaviour or choices in accordance with the guarantees of personal law.

The Court determined that the impugned orders lacked both authority and rationale in light of the aforementioned information. As a result, the Court nullified both orders. At the same time, the Court made it clear that the respondent-wife might go before the appropriate Court to have her complaints addressed if the Talaq was not carried out legally.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL

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