Kolkata: Divorce by triple talaq is already being questioned by Muslim women across the country. Today, the Supreme Court will hear the case of a Muslim woman from Howrah, West Bengal, who was divorced by her husband over phone from Dubai. She wants her four children back, and maintenance.
Ishrat Jahan can't remember the exact date her husband divorced her. But she remembers that in April last year, her husband of 15 years, Murtaza, called from Dubai, said talaq talaq talaq and disconnected the call.
It has taken the burqa clad, class 12 pass 30-year-old a whole year to go to court.
"I don't accept the talaq by phone. I want justice. I want my three daughters and one son back from my husband who snatched them away and I want maintenance for their upbringing," she said. "That's why I have gone to court. I will fight to the finish."
Ishrat and Murtaza are from Bihar. She married in 2000 and moved to Howrah. When she gave birth to three daughters one after the other, Murtaza, who did embroidery for a living, said he wanted another wife and a son. In 2010, Ishrat had a son. But that did not help. Murtaza had moved to Dubai meanwhile and kept threatening her with divorce till he did it in April last year.
Nazia Elahi Khan, Ishtar's lawyer, was also divorced at 19, legally, according to Islamic rules, she says. But talaq over texts, emails and phones are becoming very common.
"I hope the Muslim Personal Law Board will support our case that talaq over phone is not Islamic," she says. "There are rules for talaq, for the taking of another wife."
In fact, Ishrat is also protesting her husband's second marriage. Last October, she disrupted his first attempt to marry by walking in during the wedding ceremony in Bihar and announcing she, his first wife, had not given permission to him to marry again. Nor accepted his phone talaq.
But within a week, he had allegedly married another woman and taken away Ishrat's children. She has tried to meet the children but has been turned away, she says.
Ishrat lives in a house in Howrah for which her paternal family had paid a 'salami' or deposit. Her brother-in-law and wife live in the premises. Ishrat has complained to the police that her brother-in-law tried to molest her. Response from the police has been poor, she said.