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Supreme Court questions the Validity of Triple Talaq and whether it is fundamental to Islam

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In Goa, oral divorce and polygamy is not allowed to Muslims
A Muslim Woman. Wikimedia

New Delhi, May 11, 2017: The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of “triple talaq” and to know whether it was fundamental to Islam.

“We are going to decide the validity of triple talaq,” said Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, heading a Constitution bench.

He asked the parties concerned to focus on whether triple talaq was fundamental to Islamic religion.

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The Chief Justice said that petitioners and respondents would address the court on whether triple talaq was an enforceable fundamental right.

The bench sought suggestions on the broad parameters of the directions the court may issue while deciding the validity of triple talaq.

Other judges on the Constitution bench are Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.

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The court said both sides would get two days each to argue their case. Thereafter, both sides would get a day each to submit rejoinders.

Triple talaq is a practice under which a husband can verbally divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq” thrice.

This has been opposed by a section of the Muslim society while others say it cannot be changed as it is part of Muslim personal law.

The Modi government wants triple talaq to go. The practice is not followed in many Muslim countries including Pakistan. (IANS)

  • P. B. Josh

    Why look deep in the religion? How many Muslim majority countries have abandoned this practice?

  • vedika kakar

    This practice is so horrifying- even if a man in his sleep says talaaq thrice, the marriage is over. Men have sent whatsapp messages quoting talaq, talaq, talaq. Is this how an institution such as marriage should be treated? Is this how a woman should be treated? I respect all religions as well as the rights of all humans

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Ban ‘Triple Talaq’: India Criminalizes Centuries-Old Practice of Sudden Divorce Among Muslims

The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice

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FILE - Indian Muslims protest against the government approving an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down a Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce in Mumbai, India, Sept. 19, 2018. VOA

India’s parliament has passed a measure to criminalize the centuries-old practice of instant divorce among Muslims and punish men with jail terms if they defy a ban on what is known as “triple talaq.”

The government said a law was necessary because there have been instances of Muslim men continuing to terminate marriages by repeating the Arabic word “talaq” three times, although the practice was outlawed by India’s Supreme Court in 2017.

The bill sets a fine and a jail sentence of up to three years for men convicted of using the practice. It will become law as soon as the president signs it. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “an archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbins of history,” and it “corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women.”

The measure, called the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill, was passed in the upper house of parliament amid protests from the main opposition Congress party,  which opposed setting a prison term for offenders and wanted further scrutiny of the bill.

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Indian Muslims stand outside Parliament House in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 26, 2019. VOA

Critics of the law say it is a harsh measure that’s open to misuse and is being used by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to target Muslims. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill, saying it was necessary to protect the dignity and honor of Muslim women and ensure gender justice.

The bill’s passage is seen as a major victory for Modi’s government, which failed to pass it during Modi’s first term in office. The bill had been passed by the lower house last week, but all eyes were on Tuesday’s vote because the government does not have a majority in the Upper House. It passed 99 to 84.

The practice of “triple talaq” has long been banned in several Muslim countries like Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan but continued in India.

Zakia Soman, a cofounder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) organization, which was at the forefront of the legal battle to scrap “triple talaq,” welcomed passage of the bill. “It will not change our lives overnight, but it would give strength to the movement for justice for Muslim women,” according to Soman. She said “it was a moment to rejoice.”

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If we don’t cry now, Triple Talaq, and such other vices, might go digital, and burn millions of households. VOA

Women rights activists had cited many cases where men had divorced women via letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype by uttering or writing the three words. They said what was practiced in India was a misinterpretation of Islamic law.

Conservative Muslim clerics, however, had staunchly opposed efforts to scrap “triple talaq,” calling it a religious issue that should not be interfered with. Although India’s constitution guarantees equality, it allows matters such as marriage, divorce and alimony to be governed by religious laws.

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Tahir Mahmood, an expert on Islamic law, said he hoped the law would act as a deterrent on Muslim men divorcing wives in an arbitrary manner. He said the practice should not have been made a criminal offense, but he pointed out that religious leaders of the community had failed to do anything to curb the practice.

Some scholars of Sharia law call “triple talaq” a travesty of divorce as envisaged in the Quran. They say the word has to be pronounced over three months and accompanied by efforts at reconciliation. (VOA)