New Delhi: As the country awaits the Supreme Court verdict on Triple Talaq, Flavia Agnes, lawyer appearing for Majlis Manch, one of the petitioners in the case, has submitted a model Nikahnama to the apex court which not only bars occurrence of triple talaq but also prohibits polygamy. It has also cited the 1973 Nikahnama of the great granddaughter of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan which was on line with a modern Nikahnama.
The 4-page model Nikahnama submitted is unique to say the least as it not only lays down a detailed procedure for divorce, following Quranic injunctions, but also binds the husband to not contract a second marriage during the subsistence of the current marriage.
Firstly, for divorce, the model marriage contract makes it compulsory for the parties to resort to arbitration, counseling and mediation. The pronouncement of talaq only has to take place in the presence of witnesses. This shall be reduced to writing in the form of a Talaqnama. This process has to be followed by the iddat period of three lunar months. During this period too, attempts have to be made to reconcile the differences between parties and sort out issues like payment of Mehr, custody of children, etc. If all attempts of reconciliation fail, then the final divorce shall be pronounced.
After the final pronouncement, the marriage would stand severed, but the model contract also states that if the husband is not able to fulfill his contractual obligations regarding Mehr and maintenance, then the dissolution of marriage would not be valid. It also speaks of Mubara or a divorce through mutual consent.
Apart from prohibiting triple talaq, the marriage contract also states that the husband has to declare that he would abide by ‘monogamy’ during the subsistence of the present marriage. However, the apex court while hearing the matter had made it clear that it was not entertaining the question related to polygamy in the matter.
In an attempt to empower women, the contract also states as conditions that the husband shall not prevent the wife from taking up gainful employment if she so desires, that he shall not take away the minor children from the custody of the wife without her consent and has barred the husband from subjecting the wife to domestic violence.
The petitioner before submitting the model Nikahnama has also cited the Nikahnama of the great granddaughter of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sheherzad Tilat Masood, as a model to show how Islamic divorce can accommodate the option of women having the right to divorce.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a legendary Islamic reformer who had played a vital role in educational upliftment of Muslims in India.
Drafted 44 years ago, the marriage contract prohibits polygamy. The marriage which was contracted on April 26, 1973, has the clause of Talaq-e-Tafweez, which delegates the right to divorce to the woman. It further stipulates the appointment of an arbitrator to oversee that proper reconciliation procedure between the bride and the groom.
Take a look at the model Nikahnama submitted by the Majlis Manch to the SC: