Indian Supreme Court invalidates Triple Talaq

In a landmark decision on August 22, the highest court in India has rendered illegal the oppressive practice of Triple Talaq that discriminated against Muslim women for centuries. It was a split decision (3-2) by a five-judge panel – Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Parsi, one each from major faiths in India.

The court ruled Triple Talaq as unIslamic, not prescribed in Quran. It was merely a social aberration that denied Muslim women equality and self-respect being divorced by simply uttering the word three times, even by mail or an email.

The eagerly awaited Supreme Court verdict caused early confusion when Chief Justice J S Khehar read his own decision rather than of the bench to uphold the practice as a fundamental right to religion of Muslims. But Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit said Triple Talaq violated the fundamental right of Muslim women as they were subjected to arbitrary irrevocable divorce through this practice.

Triple Talaq is banned in Pakistan, Bangladesh and in 18 more countries in the world. The SC decision affects 90 million Muslim women in India, some of whom have taken their cases to court.

One emotional victim, Arshiya Ismail said, “It’s been a battle for us for seven years. Prophet Mohammed never said that women can be divorced by just saying Triple Talaq.

“My case is in the court for almost seven years and this ruling will definitely benefit my case and my self-respect. My dignity will be given back to me to the status of being a wife.”

Another victim, Farah Faiz, said, “Today the web of these Maulanas is now over. I just cannot believe in a secular country such as India how it was permissible even when so many other countries have banned it.”

Triple Talaq also led to the horrible custom of ”˜Hallala’ whereby the husband having said Triple Talaq thrice in a rage could only remarry his former wife if she spent and consummated with another man for a night.

According to law experts, today’s verdict may be applied retrospectively. A lady who was emotional yet elated and angry with her in-laws who had already organised a new marriage for their son in 2015, said, “Today world’s lakhs and crores of women will be celebrating this decision. I am thankful to Modiji who started the campaign to end this ugly custom. I know my Allah never said about Talaq this way.”

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said, “It is a small step for the Supreme Court but a giant leap for women.”

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