Triple Talaq is illegal, says Supreme Court

Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down the practice of triple talaq calling it unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Three out of the five judges on the constitution bench ruled against the “triple talaq” law, which allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times.

The judgment calls on Parliament to frame a law on the matter within six months.

“This is a sensitive case where sentiments are involved. We are directing the Union of India to consider appropriate legislation in this regard,” Justice J.S. Khehar said while announcing a six-month suspension on the practice of the divorce law.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, includes Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Natiman, U U Lalit and S Abdul Nazeer. Each of them are from different religious communities — Sikh Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim.

While as the six petitioners includes Shayara Bano, a 36-year-old whose husband of 15 years divorced her by pronouncing triple talaq through a post. Another petitioner Ishrat Jahan’s husband uttered talaq three times over the phone and allegedly took away her four children.

The third petition titled Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality’, was filed by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA). In court, BMMA argued that Allah says men and women are equal.

Gulshan Parween and Aafreen Rehman are two other petitioners in the case. Parween is from Rampur while Rehman is from Jaipur. Atiya Sabri, a resident of Saharanpur, is the last petitioner in the case.

Meanwhile, noted lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who appeared for All India Muslim Personal Law, argued that the court should not interfere in the practice of triple talaq as it is a matter of faith.

The judgment noted that  the understanding of the ‘verses’ of the Quran, is imperative in this case, because the petitioner and those supporting the petitioner’s case contend inter alia, that ‘talaq-e-biddat’, is not in conformity with the unambiguous edicts of the Quran, and therefore, cannot be considered as valid constituents of Muslim ‘personal law’.

Meanwhile, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) counsel Zafaryab Jilani on Tuesday said that their legal committee will study the judgment and advise the executive of the Muslim law board accordingly.

Speaking to a news gathering agency, Jilani said, “We respect the Supreme Court’s verdict on the triple talaq. The AIMPLB’s legal committee will study the entire judgement and advise the executive of the Muslim law board accordingly. We will also convene a meeting of the executive on September 10 at Bhopal to decide the future course of action.”

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