Triple-Talaq: Muslim Women's Rights and Media Coverage

Despite the large number of positive court judgements in favour of Muslim women in India, the media prefers to endorse the view that once the husband pronounces talaq, the wife is stripped of all her rights. Similarly, articles by experts, while focusing on the need to declare instantaneous triple talaq invalid, pay little attention to the rights laboriously secured from the trial courts, the high courts and even the Supreme Court by many Muslim women.

Shayara Bano faced severe domestic violence for nearly 15 years (she is 35 years old) that apart from physical assaults included demands for dowry, prevention from meeting her family, and forced multiple abortions leading to health problems and depression. After she was sent back to her parents’ home by her husband, he sent her a talaqnama by post.

Why did Shayara Bano accept this torture for 15 years? Why did she not secure her rights while she was living in her husband’s home or soon thereafter, by approaching a trial court in her vicinity and availing of the remedies which are open to her under a secular statute, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 whereby she could obtain reliefs such as maintenance, child custody / access and protection from future violence?

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