Shayara Bano

In 2017, when Supreme Court delivered the most awaited judgment on ‘Triple Talaq’, this case got its permanent place in the pages of history and also named as Landmark Judgment.

This case originated when a muslim man gave talaq to his wife and his wife knocked the door of Supreme court but before the journey to Supreme Court, it is relevant here to also know the background story of the Shayra Bano Case.

Shayara Bano, approached Supreme Court, for assailing the divorce pronounced by her husband Rizwan Ahmad on 10.10.2015, wherein he affirmed in the presence of witnesses saying that I gave talak, talak, talak, hence like this I divorce from you from my wife. From this date there is no relation of husband and wife. From today I am haraam, and I have become naamharram. In future you are free for using your life.

The aforesaid divorce was pronounced before Mohammed Yaseen (son of Abdul Majeed) and Ayaaz Ahmad (son of Ityaz Hussain) the two witnesses. The petitioner Shayra Bano sought a declaration, that the talaq-e-biddat pronounced by her husband on 10.10.2015 be declared as void ab initio. It was also her contention, that such a divorce which abruptly, unilaterally and irrevocably terminates the ties of matrimony, purportedly under Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 (hereinafter referred to as, the Shariat Act), be declared unconstitutional.

The background Story

The counter affidavit filed by husband Rizwan Ahmad, disclosed, that the Nikah (marriage) was solemnized on 11.04.2001, as per Shariat, at Allahabad. According to husband, the petitioner Shayara Bano, performed her matrimonial duties intermittently, coming and leaving the matrimonial home from time to time. The matrimonial relationship between the parties resulted in the births of two children, a son Mohammed Irfan and a daughter Umaira Naaz.

It is the case of the husband, that the wife, left her matrimonial home on 9.4.2015 in the company of her father Iqbal Ahmad and maternal uncle Raees Ahmed, as well as children Mohammed Irfan and Umaira Naaz, to live in her parental home. The husband claimed, that he continued to visit the petitioner, for giving her maintenance, and for enquiring about her wellbeing. When the husband met the wife at her parental home in May and June 2015, she refused to accompany him, and therefore, refused to return to the matrimonial home.

On 03.07.2015, Rizwan Ahmad, asked the father of Shayara Bano to send her back to her matrimonial home. He was informed by her father, after a few days, that the Shayra was not inclined to live with the respondent.

On 07.07.2015 the father of the petitioner, brought the two children Mohammed Irfan and Umaira Naaz to Allahabad. The husband submitted that both the children have thereafter been in his care and custody, at Allahabad. It is the assertion of the husband, that the wife’s father had given him the impression, that the petitioner would be inclined to return to Allahabad, consequent upon the husband’s care and custody of both children, at the matrimonial home. It is claimed by the respondent-husband, that he made another attempt to bring back the petitioner-wife from her parental home on 09.08.2015, but Shayara Bano refused to accompany him.

Rizwan Ahmad was opposed in the above endeavour, both by the wife’s father and her maternal uncle.

Finding himself in the above predicament, Rizwan Ahmad approached the Court of the Principal Judge, Family Court at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, by preferring Matrimonial Case with a prayer for restitution of conjugal rights. The petitioner-Shayara Bano, preferred Transfer for the transfer of Matrimonial Case, filed by the respondent-husband (seeking restitution of conjugal rights) pending at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, to the Principal Judge, Family Court, Kashipur, Uttarakhand.

In the above transfer petition, the wife inter alia asserted as under:

“The Petitioner who hails from Kashipur, Uttarakhand is unemployed and her father is a government employee. The only source of income is the Petitioners father who has a low income and despite this the Petitioner during the time of marriage had made arrangements beyond their capacity. But soon after the marriage the Respondent husband started demanding for additional dowry and made unreasonable demands for a car and cash.

The Petitioner who rightfully denied the demands of the Respondent was tortured and physically abused by the Respondent and his family. She was often beaten and kept hungry in a closed room for days. The family of the Respondent administered her with medicines that caused her memory to fade. Due to the medicines she remained unconscious for long hours.

On 09.04.2015, the Respondent attempted to kill the Petitioner by administering medicines. These medicines on inspection by a doctor on a later date were revealed to cause loss of mental balance after regular consumption. The Respondent brought the Petitioner to Moradabad in a critical near-death condition with the intention of abandoning her if his dowry demands were not fulfilled.

Thereafter on 10.04.2015 the Respondent called the parents of the Petitioner to Moradabad to take their daughter. The parents of the Petitioner requested him to come to Kashipur to meet and settle the issue. He refused to go to Kashipur and said that they should come and take their daughter or fulfil his demands for more dowry. He demanded Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakh Only).

Due to the unreasonable demands and the torturous behaviour of the Respondent husband, the Petitioners parents came to Moradabad to take her and she was forced to stay with her parents after 10.04.2015.

The Respondent has filed for restitution despite the fact that he himself had asked the Petitioner wife’s father to either fulfil his dowry demands or to take the Petitioner back to her maternal home and in pursuance of the same had drugged the Petitioner and had left her in Moradabad.”

It is the case of the respondent-Rizwan Ahmad, that in view of the above averments of the petitioner-Shayara Bano, he felt that his wife was not ready for reconciliation, and therefore, he withdrew the suit (-for restitution of conjugal rights), preferred by him at Allahabad, and divorced the petitioner-Shayara Bano, by serving upon her a talaqnama (deed of divorce) dated 10.10.2015.

The case of the respondent-husband was that he had pronounced talaq in consonance with the prevalent and valid mode of dissolution of Muslim marriages. It was submitted, that the pronouncement of divorce by him, fulfils all the requirements of a valid divorce, under the Hanafi sect of Sunni Muslims, and is in consonance with Shariat (Muslim personal law).

In this case, the supreme court declared Triple Talaq unconstitutional.


Shayra Bano v. Union of India, (2017)