Instant talaq is banned, not personal law

27 August, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Modi Government, Not Rajiv Gandhi's: Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad After Triple Talaq Verdict

India's Supreme Court on Tuesday banned a rare form of instant divorce sanctioned in its most conservative Muslim communities, saying men could no longer dissolve a marriage simply by stating it three times.

The Supreme Court has rightfully set aside the Muslim practice of quick divorce through triple talaq, ruling that it was void, illegal, unconstitutional, and against the basic tenets of the Quran.

Two major Muslim bodies - The All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board and the All India Shia Personal Law Board also welcomed the verdict, terming it a victory of Islam and Muslim women in the country.

Justice Nariman said talaq-e-biddat allows a Muslim man to "whimsically and capriciously" divorce his wife. 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. Chief Justice Khehar and Justice Naseer, in their separate judgment, are of the view that the practice of talaq-e-biddat, however unjust, can not be set aside on the violation of constitutional morality through a judicial order. In the Latifi case, it upheld the right of Muslim women to maintenance till re-marriage.

It is unclear how many countries continue to allow the practice of Triple Talaq, but many nations have joined hands to ban the custom including Islamic countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia, to name a few. "I am thankful of PM Narendra Modi and the Government of India for reasonably and justifiably putting Muslim women's views in the SC". "What is banned in Quran can not be good in Shariat".

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Asserting that if it is bad in theology, it can not be accepted in law, the bench observed, "What is morally wrong can not be legally right".

"Triple talaq has been used as a deadly weapon to threaten and intimidate women, and has destroyed lives of women across the country".

The invidious procedure of triple talaq is confined to the Sunnis alone, not only in India, but around the world. "Political parties should have a dialogue with stakeholders to make necessary amendments in the law". In a rare move, it registered a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) petition titled "In Re: Muslim Women's Quest for Equality" to examine if arbitrary divorce, polygamy and nikah halala (where a Muslim divorcee marries a man, divorces him to get re-married to her former husband) violate women's dignity. The Court has also noted that the legislature missed the opportunity to address the question of gender inequality in the Shah Bano case.

But the RSS, which has been endeavouring for a Uniform Civil Code, says a new law is imperative. Ahsan and Hasan are revocable.

The split judgment leaves one critical question still open to answer: Who is the most appropriate authority to ensure reforms in the Muslim Personal Law?

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