Rajat Sharma

Red-Letter Day for Muslim Women

Today, 22nd of August, 2017, shall be written as a red-letter day in the history of Indian judiciary, as well as for all Muslim women fighting for equality and empowerment, as a five-judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court, by a majority 3-2 judgement, struck down the practice of ‘triple talaq’ as unconstitutional.

There were five judges on the bench, including Chief Justice J.S.Khehar, who belonged to different faiths – Hindu, Muslim, Parsi, Christian and Sikh. Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice U.U.Lalit and Justice Kurien delivered the majority judgement striking down ‘triple talaq’, while outgoing Chief Justice J.S.Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazeer gave the minority judgement calling for a Central legislation to replace ‘triple talaq’. The five judges had been hearing various petitioners for the last three months. The majority verdict clearly said that ‘triple talaq’ practice was violative of Article 14 that grants fundamental right of equality before law.

Muslim women in India have been suffering for centuries because of the abominable ‘triple talaq’ practice, that has already been abolished by more than 22 Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh. They have been petitioning the government and courts seeking justice. At last, the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has heard their voice and advocated their cause before the Constitution Bench. Past governments had been wary on this issue because of the┬ávotebank politics since the powerful Muslim ulema had been opposing any tinkering with Muslim Personal Law.

With today’s verdict, Muslim women will now be able to empower themselves. There have been umpteen cases in which Muslim men in India had given ‘triple talaq’ to their wives through WhatsApp, Skype, telephone and even telegram. The long-suffering Muslim women can now heave a sigh of relief.

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