Outlawing instant divorces - a push towards religious nationalism?

Outlawing instant divorces - a push towards religious nationalism?

During the triple talaq hearing, the then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said such practices were social and not religious and urged the court to step in. It is signed by all the five judges involved, namely Jagdish Singh Khehar (Chief Justice), Kurian Joseph, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Uday Umesh Lalit and S. Abdul Nazeer. The majority view also unequivocally declared that the instant triple talaq went against the basic tenets of the Holy Quran and violated the Islamic law or the Shariat. Accordingly, the emphasis should be on creating laws that aim to attain these human rights and not what the religion prescribes or authorises. On the contrary, the end of triple talaq may energise attempts to enlarge the scope of gender justice through either legislation or judicial pronouncements.

With the Shia community veering increasingly towards the BJP, the RSS sees this as the proverbial "golden opportunity" to make inroads into the Muslim community. I have no hesitation in observing that this book is a timely addition to the texts on Muslim Law of Divorce & it will be definitely a valuable addition to the libraries of the scholars & lawyers who have a quest for knowledge & who deal with the subject of Personal Laws in India. Indeed, the express silence on the question of non-discrimination is telling in the face of the fact that the campaign to abolish instant triple talaq is inextricably linked to the emergence of Muslim women's activism over the last decade or so.

This judgement is important because for the first time it upholds Constitutional values as the criterion to ban triple talaq.

The Supreme Court by a majority verdict Aug 22 (Tuesday) set aside the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims, saying the practice was void, illegal and unconstitutional. Religious officers and priests, the main proponents of the regressive practice, have often misused their position and clout to deprive Muslim women of their right to equality. Women divorced in this way have often had to contend with straitened circumstances overnight, sometimes even with the loss of their children's custody.

Finance and Defence minister Arun Jaitley said the verdict is the law of the land now and a great victory for those who believe that personal laws must be progressive. The Personal Laws have been given the protection they are entitled to under Article 25 of the Constitution.

The All India Personal Law Board, which had argued against striking down triple talaq, had opposed any court intervention in these issues as well.

After a long wait, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court has finally delivered it's judgment on the validity of triple talaq. Certainly, the different judgments have ignited a hitherto lazy debate over reforms of Muslim personal laws, and for a civil code that goes beyond faith and custom and is applicable to all Indians.

The Supreme Court ruled that the practice of "triple talaq", whereby Muslim men can divorce their wives by reciting the word talaq (divorce) three times, was both unconstitutional and un-Islamic. "We need a law that ensures social security for women". It was the responsibility of the Board, if it claims to be representing Muslim men and women, to speak for those who are victims of such obscene practices.

"U.P. has the highest number of triple talaq, crores of Muslim women were rejoicing the freedom and thanking Prime Minister Modi", said Siddharth Nath Singh, Health Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government when the judgment was passed.

The brightest spot indisputably, is the banning of instant Triple Talaq.

Talaq-E-Bidat is the practice, which gives the man the right to divorce his wife by uttering "talaq" three times without waiting for her consent on the matter.



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