The Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 are applicable only against the husband and not against in-laws.
Section 3 of the Act declares that any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal. Any Muslim husband who pronounces talaq referred to in section 3 upon his wife is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine (Section 4)
In this case, the accused had approached the High Court seeking anticipatory bail apprehending arrest in a crime registered under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code, Section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, and Section 3/4 of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.
Two of the accused were in-laws of the complainant. The allegations against them were about demand for dowry. It was alleged that when the complainant got pregnant her mother-in-law started alleging that the complainant got pregnant much earlier and the child does not belong to her son and started asking for money saying that the complainant has not given enough dowry to them. She had also alleged that her husband pronounced Talaq thrice on telephone.
While granting them the protection of pre-arrest bail with conditions, Justice Shailendra Shukla observed:
The provisions of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 are applicable only against the husband and not against in-laws. It is clear that there is no physical cruelty and it also appears that early pregnancy became the cause of dispute and as per complainant there was a telephonic call in which husband of the complainant has sought to terminate the marriage.
Case name: Rafique Ahmed and Others vs State of Madhya PradeshCase no.: MISC. CRIMINAL CASE NO.17691 OF 2020Coram: Justice Shailendra Shukla