New Delhi, October 13, 2017: The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a ban on the entry of women in the age group 10-50 years in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of the Right to Equality under Article 14.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan also framed six questions to be addressed by the Constitution Bench.
The petition was filed by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, challenging the custom of the temple to bar entry of women in the 10-50 age bracket (of menstruating age).The custom had been termed as ‘discriminatory’ in their petition.
The Constitution Bench will deal with questions whether this practice amounted to discrimination against the women. The apex court also framed a question on the violation of rights under the Constitution with regard to the entry of women into the temple.
The reason for the ban on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years as stated by the management of the Sabarimala temple, located on a hilltop in the Western Ghats of Pathanamthitta district was because they cannot maintain “purity” on account of menstruation.
With this verdict by Supreme Court, the long sustaining protest against the entry of women tends to put an end to the practice.
The temple, built in the 12th century, is located in Pathanamthitta district and is dedicated to Lord Ayappa.
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)
The judgment of the Supreme Court is being hailed as a huge victory for India’s Muslim women
A panel of five judges representing India’s major faiths, namely, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism, delivered the verdict by a 3-2 majority on Tuesday
The judgment said it was arbitrary to allow a man to “break down marriage whimsically and capriciously.”
NEW DELHI, August 23, 2017: In a judgment that is being hailed as a huge victory for India’s Muslim women, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled that the controversial practice of instant divorce is unconstitutional and un-Islamic.
“Triple talaq” as practiced in India, allowed Muslim men to unilaterally divorce their wives by saying the word “talaq,” or divorce, three times.
A panel of five judges representing India’s major faiths — Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism, delivered the landmark verdict by a 3-2 majority on Tuesday.
The judgment said that triple talaq was “not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality.” They said it was arbitrary to allow a man to “break down marriage whimsically and capriciously.”
Muslim clerics, however, had staunchly opposed overturning “triple talaq” saying that although the practice was undesirable, it was sanctioned by the Quran and courts could not interfere in matters that pertain to religion.
Zafaryab Jilani of the powerful All India Muslim Personal Law Board said the consequences of the court decision remain to be seen. “How far it will help the women, how far it will go against them?” he told a reporter.
Many Muslim clerics and leaders have called the campaign to overturn the practice a political ploy by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to take away Muslim identity.
PM Voices Support
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has voiced support for putting an end to the Muslim divorce practice, saying it is necessary to correct an injustice to Muslim women.
The country’s Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, called it an important step forward. “Traditions are not set in stone and have to change with times and the time has come to give women equality,” she said.
In India, which has a secular constitution, each religion is allowed to have separate laws governing marriage, succession, adoption, and maintenance. Muslims are the country’s largest minority and have long said the court cannot interfere in these matters.
Abrupt end of marital life
In recent years, there had been growing complaints from Muslim women that three brief words, “talaq, talaq, talaq,” abruptly ended their marriage via conversation, letter, phone messages and WhatsApp, giving them no voice in an important decision.
The co-founder of the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement, Zakia Soman, told VOA that it was a happy day for Muslim women who have suffered for the last 70 years. “The expectations of thousands of women were associated with this (case). So many have been eagerly awaiting to hear something positive from the Supreme Court.”
But she says the ruling marks just the beginning of a long battle for a social reform movement and gender justice for Muslim women in a range of areas such as property and inheritance rights and age of marriage of girls.
“It’s not now that everything is done. Armed with this judgment and some kind of legal protection, at least the mindset about legal rights for Muslim women has become accepted”, she said. (VOA)
New Delhi, April 13, 2017: The Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its verdict holding that a victim in a criminal case cannot file an appeal against an order of acquittal without permission of the high court concerned.
A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit said there was no need to refer the matter to a larger bench for reconsideration of its 2015 judgement in which it was held that a victim cannot file an appeal against an order of acquittal without the leave of the high court.
The issue had arisen after a victim had appealed to the Gauhati High Court, who had not taken its permission to file the petition challenging the acquittal of the accused in a rape case.
As the appeal of the victim was admitted by the high court, the man, who was acquitted by the trial court in Tripura, moved the apex court which had appointed an amicus curiae to assist it in the matter, mentioned PTI.
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“Though the amicus curie has suggested that these matters be referred to a larger bench for reconsideration of the decision of this court, we do not think that such a course ought to be adopted in the present matter. The special leave petition has been pending in this court for last 5 years.
“In any case, in the present matter the victim had preferred an application to treat the appeal initially filed under Section 372 to be one under Section 372 read with Section 378 CrPC. Though the high court observed that no such leave was necessary, the matter now assumes a different complexion in the light of the decision in…. the (earlier judgement),” the bench said.
It said, “Since there is already an application on behalf of the victim to treat the appeal before the high court under Section 372 read with Section 378 CrPC, in our considered view the leave ought to be granted, which we at present do.
“The pending appeal shall now be considered on merits by the high court. This appeal, thus, stands disposed of.”
Section 372 of the CrPC deals with the rights of the victim to file an appeal against acquittal, conviction of accused for a lesser offence and imposition of inadequate compensation.
The man was acquitted by the trial court of charges of rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.
In the rape case, the victim appealed against the trial court judgment before the high court and when the appeal was listed for admission, an objection was taken by the accused that unless ‘leave’ was granted, the appeal could not be admitted.
To this, the victim filed a petition for treating the criminal appeal to be filed under the relevant provisions.
But the high court had held that there was an unfettered right conferred upon the victim by Section 372 CrPC and that no leave was required for the victim to file such appeal.
The accused, however, challenged the high court order in the apex court.