Triple Talaq case verdict was announced by Supreme Court today. The final judgement in the case may have wider political ramifications, or as senior journalist Seema Chisti observed in The Indian Express on May 18 this year, the case has “implications which go beyond its implications on the immediate matter at hand, of Triple Talaq. Once a bench decides that a practice seen inside personal law is violative of the Constitution, it opens a pandora’s box for a range of unconventional and apparently other unconstitutional elements from other personal laws to go.” The Triple Talaq case verdict was announced by a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India JS Kehar. T
The Triple Talaq case in the apex court originated on October 16, 2015 when a two-judge bench of the top court ruled the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which was amended in 2005, could not apply retrospectively (Prakash and Ors versus Phulvati and Ors). In the second part of the judgement, the apex court had referred to injustices faced by Muslim women. The top court had then also questioned the Muslim personal law practices of marriage and divorce. Following this, the court registered a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) to examine whether the practices of arbitrary divorce (Triple Talaq), polygamy and nikah halala violated women’s dignity.
WATCH- Here is all you want to know about Triple Talaq verdict which will be pronounced today
According to PTI, the SC bench also asked the Chief Justice of India to set up an appropriate bench to examine if Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce. On 5 February 2016, SC asked then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to assist it on the pleas challenging Constitutional validity of Triple Talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.
On March 28, 2016, the top court asked Centre to file a copy of the report of a high-level panel on ‘Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance, and succession’. It also impleaded several organisations, including the AIMPLB, as parties in the suo motu PIL. Subsequently, on 29 June 2016, the apex court observed that Triple Talaq among Muslims would be tested on “touchstone of constitutional framework”.
A big turn in the case came on October 7 last year when for the first time in India’s constitutional history, Centre opposed in SC these practices and favoured a re-look on grounds like gender equality and secularism.
In February this year, the SC said a five-judge Constitution bench would be set up to hear and decide the case on ‘Triple Talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy.
On 27 March 2017, AIMPLB told SC that these pleas were not maintainable as the issues fell outside judiciary’s realm. However, on April 11, Centre told the SC that the practices of Triple Talaq, nikah halala and polygamy affected the social status and dignity of Muslim women and denied them fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of Triple Talaq on April 16, saying justice should be done to Muslim women. On the same day, AIMPLB said the Board has decided to issue a code of conduct and warned that those who give Talaq (divorce) without Sharia (Islamic law) reasons will face social boycott. PM Modi was followed by newly appointed Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath the next day, who said politicians maintaining silence on the issue of Triple Talaq were equally responsible as those practising it. He also linked the Muslim practice of divorce to the disrobing of Draupadi in the Mahabharata.
Meanwhile, the opposition accused PM Modi with politicising the Triple Talaq issue for electoral benefit. One BJP minister in Uttar Pradesh, Swami Prasad Maurya, claimed Muslim men use it to change wives and satisfy ‘lust’.
On 3 May 2017, SC allowed Congress leader and lawyer Salman Khurshid as amicus curiae in hearing of pleas challenging constitutional validity of Triple Talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy. Next week on May 11, the apex court said it would determine if the Muslim practice of Triple Talaq is in line with the Constitution and fundamental to Islam. “We will only look at triple talaq and whether it is constitutional and not go into issues such as polygamy,” the five-judge Constitution bench said. The SC followed this by observing on May 12 that the practice of Triple Talaq was the “worst” and “not desirable” form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims, even though there were schools of thought which termed it as “legal”.
On May 15, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court that the Centre would bring in a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if the practice of Triple Talaq is declared unconstitutional. He also asked the top court to examine other aspects of Muslim personal law including nikah halala and polygamy. However, the next day, AIMPLB argued that Triple Talaq is a 1,400-year-old practice, and constitutional morality and equity cannot arise when a matter of faith is concerned. The apex court responded to this by asking the AIMPLB whether a Muslim woman can be given an option of saying ‘no’ to Triple Talaq at the time of execution of nikahnama (Islamic marriage contract). The five-judge Constitution bench also asked the Board if all Qazis can be asked to include this condition at the time of marriage.
On 18 May, the SC reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Triple Talaq practice among Muslims.
Supreme Court on August 22 stayed the practice for a period of six months. Three out of five judges hold the practice as unconstitutional. The court also asked the Parliament to legislate in to the matter within a period of six months.
After reading separate judgements, the 5-judge bench of Supreme Court rules in 3:2 majority triple talaq is void and illegal, reported PTI.
The apex court said Triple talaq will not be in operation for six months. It also asked political parties to keep their differences aside
and help Centre in bringing out law on Triple Talaq. If law doesn’t come in force in six months, then SC’s injunction on Triple Talaq will continue, according to PTI.