Several Union ministers today hailed the Supreme Court’s verdict on triple talaq as a victory of “gender justice and gender equality”, but said that it should not be linked to any faith. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “We should not adopt a rigid attitude, but choose a reformist approach towards social evil. The central government will talk to all the political parties on framing a law on this issue.” He asserted that the issue was not related to any religion, but to “social reform”. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Centre had coordinated with Muslim women on the issue so that their view could be placed before the apex court as the government’s stand. Terming the verdict as a victory of “constitutional values”, Prasad said there were apprehensions whether the government would buckle under pressure the way the Rajiv Gandhi-led dispensation did in 1980s. “But the Narendra Modi government did not do so,” Prasad said. Prasad was referring to the contentious Shah Bano case.
The litigation was a maintenance lawsuit, in which the apex court favoured maintenance to be given to the aggrieved divorced Muslim woman. This was overruled by the then Rajiv Gandhi government. “This is not the matter of any religion. The point here is about the gender equality, gender justice and gender dignity. This is the victory of India’s constitutional values,” Prasad told reporters here. Finance and Defence minister Arun Jaitely said the verdict “undoes” the injustice to Muslim women who were victims of a unilateral termination of matrimonial relationship. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted that it was a “huge step forward” for women’s rights. In a landmark verdict, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court by a majority of 3:2 today ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims was “void”, “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.
While Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold for six months the practice of triple talaq and asking the government to come out with a law in this regard, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held it as violative of the Constitution.