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Triple Talaq and Muslim Women in India

On 22nd August 2017 The Supreme Court of India declared the instant triple talaq or divorce as unconstitutional and arbitrary in a landmark judgment. In a split verdict the three of five judges said that this practice of saying talaq three times in one sitting or over phone, email etc. is the violation of Muslim women’s right to equality and against gender justice. It is not mentioned in Islam therefore cannot be allowed to go on. Chief Justice of India and Justice A Abdul Nazeer argued for suspending the instant talaq and directed the government to bring a law to regulate the practice within six months. However the majority verdict of three justices override their view. There are three kinds of talaq – Talaq –e-Ahsan where husband pronounces talaq once followed by abstinence of 90 days or three menstrual cycles. If the couple resolves their differences within the period then talaq is revoked. Talaq-e- Hasan where husband pronounces talaq three times over three months with iddat or abstinence of one month each.

If differences are resolved within the stipulated time the talaq is considered revoked. If not than divorce becomes final after third talaq. Talaq –e- Biddat is when the husband says talaq in one go and it becomes effective immediately. It is irrevocable the moment it is pronounced. The Supreme Court of India has struck down Talaq-e- Biddat as unconstitutional and against women’s dignity and rights. Instant Divorce of Talaq-e-Biddat is banned in 22 Muslim countries as being arbitrary. This ruling will ensure justice to Muslim women who had been victims of domestic violence and harassment. The petition against instant divorce was filed two years back by Shayara Bano and four other women who were divorced by her husband through letter mentioned talaq thrice. Her children were taken away from her and faced discrimination and threats to her live. The Supreme Court also made the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan a party in the case-taking cognizance of the survey that said 92% of the Muslim women want abolition of triple talaq. This is the first time in India that Muslim women challenged an Islamic practice as violation of fundamental right. The Muslim women have come out in open to talk against the discriminatory practices in the name of the Islamic practices.

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