New Delhi: Noting that Muslim women are at a disadvantage under the Muslim Personal Law with no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and polygamy, a Supreme Court bench has urged the Chief Justice of India to constitute an “appropriate bench” to examine the validity of such practices saying that it amounts to the violation of women’s fundamental rights.
According to reports, the Apex court is set to thoroughly analyze the Muslim Personal Law and is considering a ban on Polygamy and Triple Talaaq system in a bid to end the alleged gender bias.
A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and A K Goel ordered registration of a Public Interest Litigation and for putting it up before the new bench to deal with the issues related to the challenge to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.
The bench noted the issue was not merely a policy matter but “concerns the fundamental rights of the women guaranteed under the Constitution.”
The issue cropped up during the hearing of a matter related to Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act and the bench noted that “an important issue of gender discrimination which though not directly involved in this appeal has been raised by some of the counsel for the parties which concerns rights to Muslim women. Discussions on gender discrimination led to this issue also.”
“It was pointed out that in spite of guarantee of the Constitution, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination… There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during the currency of the first marriage, resulting in a denial of dignity and security to her,” it noted.
“For this purpose, a PIL be separately registered and put up before the appropriate Bench as per orders of the Chief Justice of India.
“Notice be issued to learned Attorney General and National Legal Services Authority, returnable on November 23, 2015. We give liberty to counsel already appearing in this matter to assist the Court on this aspect of the matter, if they wish to volunteer, for either view point,” the court said.
New Delhi, October 20, 2017: The Supreme Court had on October 9 banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi during Diwali in order to counter the pollution, deteriorating air quality and smog-like conditions that have come to be associated with the festival in recent times.
While a radical change was not expected following the ban on firecrackers, a humble and promising beginning could be witnessed on Diwali with majority areas in Delhi reporting much lesser noise and smoke till 6 PM, compared to previous years.
However, as the festive spirit picked up from 7 PM onwards, the hopes for a pollution-free Diwali got lost behind the growing echo of the crackers.
Pollution Levels on Diwali
Despite the much talked about the ban on firecrackers, pollution monitoring stations placed the capital in the ‘red zone’, indicating ‘very poor’ air quality. According to the stats available, on Diwali day around 7 pm, online indicators showed a rising trend in the volume of cancer-causing ultra-fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10 that are capable of entering the respiratory system and reach the bloodstream.
PM2.5 and PM10 are the extremely fine particulate matter with the digits representing their diameter in micrometers. They are a major component of air pollutants that threaten both, our health and the environment at large.
However, data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) suggested that the air quality in Delhi on Diwali was better than last year.
On Thursday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) value was 319 which placed the city in the ‘very poor’ category. However, the AQI value on Diwali last year was 431 and the city was placed in the ‘severe’ category.
According to data from SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), the 24-hour rolling average at around 11 PM was revealed as 154 and 256 micrograms per cubic meter for PM2.5 and PM10 respectively.
According to SAFAR data, pollution levels were expected to soar between 11 PM and 3 AM.
Pollution Levels in the Morning after Diwali
As the night progressed, PM2.5 levels recorded a sharp rise in multiple areas in and around Delhi, with 15 times increase in areas like India Gate
As per data from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PM2.5 levels at 6 AM in,
India Gate – 911 microns (Normal level – 60 microns)
RK Puram – 776 microns (13 times more than usual)
Ashoka Vihar – 820 microns (14 times more than normal)
Anand Vihar – 617 microns (10 times more than normal)
A sharp rise was observed in the PM10 levels in the early hours of the morning after Diwali which suggest hazardous pollution levels in Delhi.
As per data from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PM10 levels at 6 AM in,
India Gate – 985 microns
RK Puram – 1083 (11 times more than usual)
Anand Vihar – 2402 microns (24 times more than normal. Normal level is considered around 100 microns)
While the ban on firecrackers imposed by the Supreme Court aimed to reduce pollution levels in Delhi, figures from pollution monitoring system paint an unhealthy picture with amplified levels of air pollution.
Official figures from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are yet to be announced today. However, judging from the data available, it won’t be wrong to say that pollution levels in Delhi have increased post-Diwali.
New Delhi, Sep 28, 2017: Indian women have undertaken every role in each sphere of life from beauty to the outrageous corporate world with due diligence. Fortune magazine has released the Most Powerful Women in Business Outside the US list in which two Indian women, ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank chief Shikha Sharma have made it to the rankings while Indira Nooyi featured in the top three businesswomen on the US edition list.
Anna Bonnin, the executive chairman of the Banco Santander Group, was ranked first in the list. Kochhar was placed fifth, and Sharma was ranked 21st in the list.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was ranked second on the US Most Powerful Women in Business list. General Motors CEO Mary Barra topped the list while Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson took the third spot.
The annual list of working women outside the United States was released 17th time. The 50 global businesswomen represented 17 countries and had 11 newcomers this year. The methodology involved four criteria: the size and importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career (resume and runway ahead), and social and cultural influence, mentioned Livemint.
Sep 21, 2017 (IANS): On August 22, the Supreme Court ruled that triple talaq — the practice which allows a man to divorce his wife instantly by saying the word talaq thrice — is unconstitutional. Predictably, the ruling was denounced by a number of Muslim leaders and organisations. Some interpreted it as an attack on their religion and way of life. Others saw a conspiracy angle in the importance given to an issue.
This perspective is desperate and distorted. This perspective is not only wrong but also wrong-headed, misplaced and misguided.
I applaud this judgement because I strongly believe that Muslim instant divorce is illegal and incorrect in many ways. Instant divorce is deplorable, disgraceful and shameful. In addition, it is demeaning, demonising, disheartening and demoralising to Indian Muslim women.
Most importantly, as one of the judges pointed out, triple talaq is against the basic tenets of the Quran. Recognising this, many Islamic countries, including two of India’s large Muslim neighbours — Pakistan and Bangladesh — have abolished the practice.
In addition, it is unconscionable to think that a man should be allowed to banish a woman to whom he is married — who is also the mother of his child or children, in many cases — by uttering a word three times, with no consequences. Triple talaq is also inherently discriminatory in that only a man has that “right” — a Muslim woman cannot end the marriage in a similar way.
Over the years, some Muslim organisations have rationalised triple talaq by arguing that divorce rates within their community are quite low compared to other religious groups. It affects less than a third of a per cent of Muslim women, they argue. This is neither a sound legal nor moral argument. Even if one concedes that instant divorce affects only a minuscule population, injustice should never have legal sanction, regardless of how many people are affected.
The triple talaq ruling, the result of a decades-long campaign by women’s rights groups, was a historic verdict. With the stroke of a pen, the judges made illegal a practice that over the decades has ruined the lives of countless Indian Muslim women.
In the absence of a comprehensive study among Indian Muslim women, it is not known how many of them have been divorced in this manner. A 2013 survey of Muslim women in 10 Indian states by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, an advocacy group that fights for the rights of Indian Muslims, found that triple talaq was the most common mode of divorce among those surveyed.
Of the 4,710 women sampled in the survey, 525 were divorcees. Of them, 404 were victims of triple talaq. More than 80 per cent of them did not receive any compensation at the time of divorce.
Two of the five judges that delivered the triple talaq judgment differed on the constitutionality of practice. The bench was in unanimous agreement, however, in asking the government to enact within six months legislation to govern Muslim marriages and divorces.
India’s justice system has numerous drawbacks. It often takes decades for courts to deliver justice. In this instance, the Supreme Court should be applauded for delivering a correct judgment in a timely manner.
The ball is now in the government’s court. It is up to people’s representatives to come up with policies that will change the lives of Muslim women for the better.
Equitable legislation on Muslim marriages and divorces should be just the starting point. The central and state governments must craft policies that empower women belonging to all castes, creeds and religions. Such policies should focus on educating women, developing their skills and making them part of the work force. Empowerment of this type will allow them to pursue and create their own destiny. It will lead to financial independence. In addition, it will promote the security and stability of women and will build their self-esteem and confidence.
India’s Muslim community should embrace the Supreme Court verdict. They should join together to say: End triple talaq. End triple talaq. End triple talaq. They should leverage the verdict as an opportunity to advocate for and bring about much-needed reforms related to women’s rights. (IANS)