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Karnataka HC Affirms Family Court Authority in Sunni Muslim Divorce Cases Under Mubarat Agreement

Karnataka HC Affirms Family Court Authority in Sunni Muslim Divorce Cases Under Mubarat Agreement

The Karnataka High Court has reaffirmed that in cases where Sunni Muslims have mutually entered into a Mubarat agreement to dissolve their marriage, the Family Court has the authority to entertain applications for divorce by mutual consent.

A division bench comprising Justice Anu Sivaraman and Justice Anant Ramanath Hegde has granted the appeal filed by the couple, thereby dissolving their marriage in accordance with the Mubarat agreement.

The couple had approached the family court to seek a declaration that their marriage, solemnized on April 7, 2019,  is dissolved by the Deed of Mubarat dated April 3, 2021.

It was noted that the Family Court had determined that while dissolution of marriage through Mubarat is recognized as one of the methods of dissolution, petitions for mutual consent dissolution of Mohammedan marriages were not envisaged under the provisions of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1937. Consequently, the suit was deemed not maintainable, leading to its dismissal.

The couple argued that under the provisions of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1937 and Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1939 read with Section 7 of the Family Courts Act, 1984, the Mubarat Agreement entered into between the parties dissolving their marriage with their full consent and knowledge is liable to be accepted by the Family Court and the declaration was liable to be granted by the Family Court.

The couple relied on the Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Shayara Bano v. Union of India and others (2017), along with other High Court judgments. The bench observed that Section 7 of the Family Courts Act grants authority to the Family Court to adjudicate on suits or proceedings concerning declarations regarding the validity of a marriage or the matrimonial status of any individual.

 “ we are of the opinion that the finding of the Family Court that the Family Court is not empowered to consider the application for Divorce by mutual consent when the parties are Muslims cannot be said to be the correct proposition. In view of the fact that the parties have entered into Mubarat agreement and have decided to dissolve the marriage entered into between them by the said agreement, we are of the opinion that the prayer sought for by the parties i.e., for a declaration as to the dissolution of marriage ought to have been granted by the Family Court.”

After engaging with the couple, who explicitly affirmed that they had entered into the Mubarat agreement with full awareness and consent, and expressing their unequivocal unwillingness to continue their marital relationship, the Court concluded that the Family Court's dismissal of the suit as not maintainable was erroneous. Consequently, the appeal was allowed.

Appearance: Advocate Suzanne Maria Vaz for Advocate Azhar Meer for Appellants.

Case Title: Shabnam Parveen Ahmad & ANR AND NIL

Case NO: MFA 4711 OF 2022

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