The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the practice of Talaq-e-Hasan for divorcing Muslim women is not prima facie improper, Bar and Bench reported.

Talaq-e-Hasan is a practice in which a Muslim man divorces his wife by uttering the word “talaq” once a month over 90 days. At the end of the third utterance, the divorce is considered granted.

The practice is different from instant triple talaq, or Talaq-e-Biddah, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2019. In this practice, a man could instantly divorce his wife by pronouncing “talaq” three times.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said that the petition against the practice should not be used to further any agenda.

“Prima facie this [Talaq-e-Hasan] is not so improper,” Justice Kaul remarked, according to Bar and Bench. “Women also have an option. Khula is there.”

Khula is a form of divorce in which the wife returns her Mehr amount to the husband. Mehr is the exclusive property, goods or money given by the groom to the bride as a mark or respect.

The court was hearing a petition filed by journalist Benazeer Heena, who had challenged the constitutionality of Talaq-e-Hasan on the ground that it is discriminatory against women, Live Law reported.

In her plea, Heena claimed that her husband allegedly divorced her by sending a Talaq-e-Hasan notice through a lawyer on April 19 after her family refused to pay dowry, according to ANI.

The petitioner further contended that banning Talaq-e-Hasan is the need of the hour, as it is not harmonious with human rights and equality and is not necessarily part of the Islamic faith.

“Many Islamic nations have restricted such practice, while it continues to vex the Indian society in general and Muslim women in particular,” her plea stated, according to ANI.

During the hearing on Tuesday, advocate Pinky Anand, representing Heena, submitted that while the Supreme Court declared Triple Talaq unconstitutional in 2017, it left the issue of Talaq-e-Hasan undecided.

The bench, however, said that Heena’s was not about the practice of Triple Talaq.

“If two people cannot live together, we are granting divorce on the breakdown of marriage,” the bench said. “Are you open to divorce by mutual consent if Mehr is taken care of?”

The Bench then asked Anand to take instructions from the petitioner in this regard and posted the case for the next hearing on August 29.