On the day of 22nd August 2017, Triple Talaq, a practice seeking instant divorce has been declared as invalid by the supreme court in what can be termed as a historic win in terms of empowering women. The supreme court regards triple talaq as a violation of the constitutional rights and has ordered the centre, within 6 months, to come up with a legislation to completely ban the practice. What brought this verdict, who are the women who stood up to fight for it, the battle itself which led to the historic win and what this means to the muslim women community.
Why Triple Talaq Is Suddenly In The Limelight
Triple Talaq is a practice through which a muslim man can obtain divorce from his wife just by uttering the word ‘Talaq’ three times. It is a very inherent practice among the muslim community in India most of whom follow the Hanafi Islamic school of law. For a woman to get a divorce, she has to go through a procedure of ‘Khula’ where the husband gets a payment in order to let his wife go. This itself has led to a gender injustice, wherein the men can easily get a divorce whereas a woman can’t. Also, according to a BMMA(Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan) study, 90 percent of women want a ban on this talaq system since it is highly misused by the men in the muslim community. According to the 2011 census data, the rate of divorce among muslims was 0.56 percent.
The issue, with respect to banning Talaq has been in the news since the last 2 years ever since the BMMA launched a campaign to ban the same. They say they have been constantly receiving complaints from the women in the community, citing mistreatment and misuse of the Talaq practice.
Along with the BMMA, there are five women, who stood up against the practice and approached the Supreme Court to ban the same. Afreen Rehman from Jaipur(Rajasthan), Shayara Bano from Kashipur(Uttarakhand), Ishrat Jahan from Kolkata(West Bengal), Atiya Sabri from Saharanpur(Uttar Pradesh) and Gulshan Parveen from Rampur(Uttar Pradesh) are the women who stood against their husbands. Citing the injustice meted out at them, they approached the court, in a fight for their rights.
The Battle For The Verdict
The issues faced by muslim women have been highlighted more than ever before, they have come out in the open their plight, especially in terms of Triple Talaq. In quite a few cases before, the Supreme Court has already ruled triple talaq as unconstitutional.
The bench which included Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and S Abdul Nazeer have together heard the women who have practically faced the scenario of triple talaq and accordingly decided on what the verdict should be. The bench which had people from every culture deliberated on almost three months before passing the verdict. Triple Talaq has been ruled as unconstitutional and against the fundamental rights promised to every citizen in the country. This is a big strike down for the practice.
Our PM, Mr. Narendra Modi has requested political parties not to politicize the issue. But still, the issue has been blown out of proportion. Different people have taken the stand that the issue is an agenda of the ruling government due to its muslim bashing attitude. This stand has also been egged on by the media who is always a prime player in such issues.
Muslim women across India have welcomed this verdict with open hearts and thank the court for coming out with this decision. A legislation to put this to effect is still on the cards and the government has been given 6 months to prepare it. This seems to be a beginning of sorts for empowering women of the muslim community, who have most of the times felt underprivileged to get their way in the society and achieve anything they set their eyes upon. So, let us, without politicizing the issue, make sure every muslim women gets her right. It is a small, but sure step towards empowering her.