With triple talaq becoming an offense, such cases have come down among Indian Muslims but interestingly, reports suggest there is a noticeable increase in ‘Khula’ cases – divorce initiated by Muslim women.
As per Islamic jurisprudence, Khula is the right of a woman to divorce and it means separation from her husband. After divorce, the husband is responsible for the education and maintenance of the children. While In Talaq, the husband must also tender ‘Haq Meher’ ((wealth transferred or promised to the woman at the time of marriage) to his wife, whereas in Khula, the wife has to relinquish her right to Haq Meher.
Data collected from the Darul Qazas or Islamic arbitration centers in Bihar and Jharkhand show a rise in divorces that are being filed through the Khula. The Darul Qazas are centers opened by Imarat-e-shariah, one of the largest and the most influential Muslim organizations working in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odhisa.
The report said that more Muslim women are opting to end their marriage through ‘Khula.’
It may be noted that the Kerala High Court granted Muslim women the right to annul marriage under Khula through extrajudicial means (like Darul Qazas) in 2021.
In 2020-21, all Darul Qazas received nearly 5,000 cases of Khula and data show a similar rising trend in Delhi and Mumbai. According to Aznar Alam Qasmi, the chief Qazi at Patna's Imarat-e-Shariah headquarters, in 2021-22, they received 572 cases that sought a divorce.
“Almost all cases were of ‘Khula’ with only a handful of mubarat cases and none of the triple talaq,” Anzar Alam Qasmi said and he speaks only of the Imarat Shariah headquarters.
It may be noted that Khula can be initiated orally or through a document called the ‘Khulanama’. Since ‘Khula’ is granted at the woman’s request, the man cannot be held responsible for the instant divorce.
There’s another provision in Islamic jurisprudence to annul the marriage - Mubarat - which is a form of divorce proposed by both the parties and they wish to end their marriage by mutual consent.
The Darul Qaza of Mumbai reported 300 cases between 2019 to 2021.
“There are five Darul Qazas in Mumbai. Every year, 300 cases of Khula are resolved at these centers. The maximum cases, around one hundred, come from the Mumbai city center,” Azimuddin Sayed, president, of Darul Qaza Committee said, adding “most Khula cases come in instances of marriages through online contact.”
According to Madrasa Islamia Arabia in UP’s Muzaffarnagar district, they never received cases of Khula until 2017 and now they are receiving three-four Khula cases every month.
Similar figures were reported from the Riyazul Uloom recently. The local Khula cases are referred to the Deoband (famed Islamic seminary) for further arbitration.
Meanwhile, Muslim religious scholars and qazis, who are authorized to solemnize marriages and grant divorce, blame the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 for the jump in ‘Khulas’.