The Supreme Court on Tuesday made a historic decision for the Muslim women of our country. A gateway to polygamy has been banned and the apex court called this practice ‘Illegal and sinful’. A bench of five judges was formed to decide the verdict on this practice of instant triple talaq where in a woman can be divorced just by uttering the word talaq three times.
The Apex court said that the practice was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. “In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ – triple talaq is set aside,” a five-judge constitution bench said in a 395-page order.
The five judges belonged to five different religions; Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Three of the judges, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohington Nariman and Justice UU Lalit, said “what is sinful under religion cannot be valid under law.” They said,”triple talaq may be a permissible practice but it retrograde and unworthy. Since triple talaq is instant it is irrevocable and the marital tie gets broken, it violates the right to equality.”
The constitution bench of these five judges heard petitions filed by five Muslim women challenging the 1,400-year-old practice of triple talaq, including by woman who was divorced on WhatsApp. Justice Kurien Joseph said: “What is held bad in the Holy Quran cannot be good in Shariat and, in that sense, what is bad in theology is bad in law as well.”
Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazeer differed from the rest of the three judges and said while triple talaq “may be sinful”, the court can’t interfere in personal laws which hold the status of fundamental rights under the constitution. They opined that the parliament should bring a law to end the practice altogether.
“There cannot be any Constitutional protection to such a practice,” said Justice Joseph, disagreeing with the Chief Justice JS Khehar. Muslims have a personal law that came into force in 1937 and they all are governed by the same law. The government has long argued that practices such as triple talaq violate fundamental rights of women but every time it was asked not to intervene in the matters of faith. The Muslim Personal Law Board had opposed any court intervention calling it the matters of faith.
Our honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has called it a move of equality for Muslim women. The ones who were fighting this battle knew how deep rooted the problem was. The verdict of banning the practice has brought a sense of security and power among women.