TRIPLE TALAQ SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT
The controversial Muslim divorce law Triple talaq that allows men to leave their wives immediately by uttering the word “talaq” (divorce) three times, has been banned by the Supreme Court, which today called it illegal, retrograde that is backward and unworthy.
A panel of five judges said that triple talaq “is not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality”.
The court called triple talaq “bad in law” and said that The court hopes the legislature will consider and take into account Muslim Personal Law while making legislation and asked All parties must keep their politics away and decide this.
Referring to the abolition of the practice in Islamic countries, the court questioned, “Why can’t independent India get rid of it?”
Till now, according to the constitution, Triple talaq is legal for Muslims, but several Muslim women who have been divorced, including by Skype and on WhatsApp, had challenged the 1400-year-old practice.
Five judges of different faiths – Chief Justice JS Khehar (Sikh), Justice Kurian Joseph (Christian), RF Nariman (Parsi), UU Lalit (Hindu) and Justice Abdul Nazeer (Muslim)- heard the case over five days from May 12 to May 18.
Two of the five judges who differed said while triple talaq “may be sinful”, the court can’t interfere in personal laws that are considered a fundamental right by the constitution.
The government had backed the petitioners, declaring triple talaq unconstitutional, and offensive and discriminatory for women. But it had argued that the court should first pronounce its decision on the constitutional validity of triple talaq, only then it would bring a law.
Here is the 8-points to be noted in this news:
1. Three of the five judges hearing the case said it is unconstitutional; the other two wanted it banned for six months till the government introduces new legislation. The majority opinion held that triple talaq “is not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality”.
2. The judges in favour of a new law to be formed by the government by taking the concerns of some Muslim organisations who are critical of any attempts to interfere with religious laws, arguing it curtails their constitutional right to govern their affairs.
3. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and argues this is a religious matter and not for the courts.
4. The Supreme Court referred to the fact that several Islamic countries like Pakistan do not allow triple talaq; judges questioned why it should not be abolished in India.
5. The Supreme Court has for the first time reviewed whether triple talaq is fundamental to Islam and therefore legally binding. Three of the five judges held that triple talaq violates the beliefs of the Quran.
6. The verdict was delivered by a panel of five judges from different major faiths – Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Arguments concluded in May.
7. India allows religious institutions to govern matters of personal law – marriage, divorce and property inheritance – through civil codes; so far, triple talaq has been considered a legal avenue for the country’s nearly 180 million Muslims to end marriages.
8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has backed the petitioners in this landmark case, declaring triple talaq unconstitutional, and offensive and discriminatory for women. In different public speeches, PM Modi has spoken against the practice, pledging to protect the right to equality of all women.