Tuesday November 21, 2017
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Supreme Court’s Decision to Ban “Triple Talaq” is a big Relief for India Muslim Women

The judgment of the Supreme Court said that triple talaq was "not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality."

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Triple talaq
Activists of various social organisations hold placards during a protest against "Triple Talaq" in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (VOA)
  • 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.”

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.

ALSO READIf discriminatory Triple Talaq struck down, then new Divorce Law will come, Centre tells Supreme Court

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)

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Supreme Court to Pronounce Entry Of Women at Sabarimala Temple

Supreme Court will pronounce its order on the ban on women's entry into Sabarimala Temple. Will it be another landmark judgement?

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Sabarimala Temple
The Sabarimala Temple Does Not Allow Entry Of Women As A Part Of Age Old Tradition. Wikimedia

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.

Sabarimala Temple
The Supreme Court will declare its decision on the long-existing ban on entry of women. Wikimedia

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.

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Muslim Man Divorces Twelve Wives, Murders the Thirteenth; How Safe are Married Muslim Women under the Religious Law?

How is the government planning to protect the married Muslim women in the country, who are often desolated by their husbands?

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MUSLIM MAN
How safe are Muslim women? Wikimedia

Uttar Pradesh, October 9, 2017: Whoever said the number thirteen is unlucky was right. A horrific case of a Muslim man brutally murdering his wife has now come forward.

According to reports, police have arrested Mohammad Mustkeem, a resident of Raebareli, a small town in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh after he allegedly murdered his 13th wife.  While cases of murders within marriages are not new, this particular case is extremely peculiar.

Mustkeem is a practising Muslim and had been married thirteen times. While he had divorced all his former twelve wives, the thirteenth wife was cruelly hacked to death.

The victim and Mustkeem had been married for over four years and also had a three-month-old child. However, the two were believed to fight a lot, because of which Mustkeem had been contemplating another divorce.

But before the 13th divorce could happen, the victim went missing, which created alarm in the Pure Kale Khan locality in the district. Upon search, her body was recovered from the fields near Chulamau village in the district.

According to the police, the victim’s body bore several injury marks that indicate that she had been tortured and strangled to death.

Consequently, the police arrested Mohammad Mustkeem on charges of murdering his own wife.

While no official information has been obtained as of now, locals believe Mustkeem was planning to re-marry for the fourteenth time and had even sought a bride.

While we condemn the victim’s murder, the case involving Mustkeem and his multiple wives has once again brought Triple Talaq under the spotlight, which had been rife in the country till the past few weeks.

Before the verdict was announced on the declaration of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional, census figures revealed that for every Muslim man divorced in India, four Muslim women had been previously divorced. This is also evident from Mustkeem and his former 12 wives.

As per the law, Muslim men could divorce their wives for any possible trivial reason. By contrast, the woman was expected to almost always avail the husband’s consent for a divorce. This robbed women the right to have a say, and to have a secure livelihood and instead granted men the permission to blatantly indulge in matrimony, which is evident from Mustkeem’s life.

While a constitutional ban on the practice has gathered mix responses, the question remains how the change will seep down to the very roots of the society. And how is the government planning to protect the married Muslim women in the country, who are often desolated by their husbands? Until then, cases like Mustkeem and his twelve divorced wives can be expected to continue making headlines.

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Indian Muslim Should Embrace The Triple Talaq Verdict, As It Outlaws the Radical Religious Side

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Triple Talaq
End of Triple Talaq. IANS

by Frank F. Islam

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.

Also Read: One India, One Law: End of Triple Talaq 

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)