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3:21 pm - Saturday March 18, 8451

SC quashes Triple Talaq; calls it unconstitutional, against Quran

Agencies, New Delhi

By a 3:2 majority, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court today set aside the practice of divorce through instant triple talaq among Muslims, declaring it unconstitutional, illegal and void, vindicating the stand of the government, which had said triple talaq violates fundamental rights of women.

The apex court held that the practice of triple talaq was against the basic tenets of Quran and hence unacceptable. The three judges said the triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the Constitution and must be struck down. The bench held that the practice of triple talaq is not protected by Article 25 of the Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Religion.

This is the second time the apex court has come to the cause of Indian Muslim women. In 1985, the Supreme Court had ruled that 60-year Shah Bano was entitled to maintenance like any other Indian woman after her husband had divorced her. The Congress government, headed by Rajiv Gandhi, subsequently enacted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, to set aside the verdict. Shah Bano eventually died in 1992 and her case continues to be a milestone.

The verdict of the apex court placed India into the enviable group of nations that have banned the practice of instant triple talaq. As many as 22 Muslim countries – including Pakistan and Bangladesh – or their provinces have abolished triple talaq either explicitly or implicitly. The list includes Turkey and Cyprus, which have adopted secular family laws; Tunisia and Algeria and the Malaysian state of Sarawak, which do not recognise a divorce pronounced outside a court of law; and Iran, where triple talaq does not have validity under its Shia law.

The invidious procedure of triple talaq is confined to the Sunnis alone, not only in India, but around the world. Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman and UU Lalit held triple talaq as violative of the Constitution. Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold the practice for six months and asking the government to come out with a law. Political parties hailed the verdict while Muslim intellectuals and religious scholars expressed mixed reactions.

They urged that before enacting a law, the government must solicit the views and opinion of all sections of the community. The government must consult Islamic scholars, Muslim intellectuals of all sections and take into consideration their views, objections or suggestions, before framing the new law, as stipulated by the apex court, they said.

Posted in: Featured, Nation

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