It is a big win for Muslim women rights and a huge setback for All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court suspended the use of a controversial Muslim divorce law i.e. Triple Talaq until the government frames new legislation. SC asked the government to come out with legislation on Triple Talaq. Also, SC expressed hope the Centre’s legislation will take into account concerns of Muslim bodies and Sharia law. As reported by PTI, SC has also asked political parties to keep their differences aside and help Centre in bringing out law on Triple Talaq. Out of 5 judge bench, 3 judges have ruled that Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and said that the practice is not in sync with Quran. “After reading separate judgments, the 5-judge bench of SC rules in 3:2 majority that TripleTalaq is void and illegal,” news agency PTI reported.
What is Triple Talaq?
The law allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times. Muslim women say they have been left destitute by husbands divorcing them through “triple talaq”, including by Skype and WhatsApp, as per a report in Reuters.
What happened in hearing?
Earlier, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing. During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had assured the apex court that the government would come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq is upheld as invalid. Rohatgi also conveyed to the apex court bench that triple talaq violates Muslim women’s right to equality within the community and also within the country. Earlier in the hearing, the apex court refused to hear all the three cases of polygamy, nikah and halala at once, saying it will focus on one matter at a time.
The Centre, earlier on May 11, told the apex court that it opposes the triple talaq practice and wants to fight for women equality and gender justice.
However, the AIMPLB counsel Kapil Sibal told the apex court that triple talaq is a matter that comes under the Muslim Personal Law Board and therefore, in his opinion, the top court should not interfere in it.
While hearing several pleas filed by Muslim women challenging the practice of triple talaq, the apex court observed that it would examine whether the issue is fundamental to religion or not.
Relentless debates on the validity and plausibility of this practice were instigated soon after one petitioner, Shayara Banu, challenged the Muslim Personal Law over instantaneous application of triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat), polygamy and nikah-halala.
Supporting the stance of ending the practice of triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court had earlier asserted that the rights of any person, including Muslim women, cannot be violated in the name of ‘Personal Law’.
In December last year, the Allahabad High Court termed the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by uttering the word “talaq” thrice “unconstitutional”.