New Delhi, 22 August(Wishav Warta): The Supreme Court struck down on Tuesday the controversial Islamic divorce practice of instant triple talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat), saying it was arbitrary and against the tenets of Islam. In a 3-2 verdict, the top court said instant triple talaq under which women have been divorced in one go even over email, WhatsApp and letters were against Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality.
“Talaq-e-Biddat (instant divorce) is manifestly arbitrary which allows a Muslim man to break down a marriage whimsically,” the five-judge SC bench said. The minority view of two judges, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and justice Abdul Nazeer, said the practice of triple talaq should be put on hold for six months and the government should bring a law to regulate the practice by then. The final verdict overrides the minority view.
During the hearing in the top court, the government had come out against the controversial practice and said it would bring a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq was struck down. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year said he believed triple talaq was destroying women’s lives.
But the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a non-governmental body that lobbies for the application of Muslim personal law, opposed any ban on the practice, arguing that it was a religious matter and not for the courts to decide. The judgment came two years after a woman from Uttarakhand, Shayara Bano, approached the top court after her husband of 15 years sent her a letter with the word ‘talaq’ written thrice to divorce her. Since then, other women have filed separate petitions in the Supreme Court, pleading for an end to the custom. The top court then clubbed all the petitions.
“Triple talaq is against the basic tenets of Islam,” said justice Kurien Joseph, who was part of the majority view.
“Instant triple talaq is arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. It must be struck down,” said justice Rohinton Nariman.