ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Small Step Forward

The Supreme Court has successfully traversed a potential minefield in the triple talaq case.

Muslim women in India have won a small victory. They have no one to thank for it except themselves and the judiciary and certainly not the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that has jumped to claim credit for it. It is the efforts of these women that ultimately led to a case in the Supreme Court. It has responded positively to their plea by declaring as illegal the practice of talaq-e-biddat, or triple talaq where a man can divorce his wife merely by uttering the word “talaq” thrice.

The apex court had before it petitions by five divorced Muslim women and the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan seeking abolition of triple talaq and other discriminatory practices such as polygamy. The Court, however, restricted itself to looking only at talaq-e-biddat. The voluminous 395-page judgment is far from straightforward; the five judges delivered three separate judgments. As the rulings of two of the judges, Justices R F Nariman and U U Lalit, and another judge, Justice Kurian Joseph concurred that the practice of triple talaq should be set aside, that now holds. One needs to note, however, that the Supreme Court had already ruled in 2002 in Shamim Ara v State of UP that this practice is illegal. Surprisingly, that judgment appears to have received little attention from the media, political parties and civil society.

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Updated On : 24th Aug, 2017
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