All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) continued to defy the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision holding the practice of triple talaq unconstitutional. That verdict had followed a petition by a Muslim woman, Shayara Bano, who was married to Rizwan Ahmed for 15 years. In 2016, he divorced her through instantaneous triple talaq (talaq -e biddat).
Along with her petition, the court heard seven appeals, including of those women who were divorced on phone, by speed post, or electronic methods.
The Modi Government, through the Attorney General and other law officers, had supported the cause of the Muslim women. The AIMPLB and the husbands vehemently opposed the court interfering in the personal law of Muslims.
The husbands had questioned the maintainability of the writ petitions as the issues were not justiciable. The court rejected their objections. Despite the Constitutional protection of their right to equality, Muslim women in India had complained of living in perpetual fear of being thrown out of their matrimonial homes in a matter of seconds because a Muslim man, if he chooses, can end years of marriage just by saying the word “talaq” (divorce) three times.
A campaign to end the practice of unilateral instant “triple talaq” began in India several decades ago. But it picked up steam in 2016 when a 35-year-old mother-of-two approached the Supreme Court seeking justice. The apex verdict and its continued defiance by AIMPLB and Sharia courts in India left the Modi Government with no option but to catch the bull by the horns.
Ironically, several Muslim-majority nations had declared triple talaq as illegal and un-Islamic much earlier. Egypt was the first Muslim nation that abolished this social evil in 1929, followed by Sudan. Pakistan in 1956, Bangladesh in 1972, Iraq in 1959, Syria in 1953, and Malaysia in 1969 abolished the practice of triple talaq.
Besides, countries such as Cyprus, Jordan, Algeria, Iran, Brunei, Morocco, Qatar, and the UAE also ended this social evil many years ago. But it took 70 years for India to get rid of this inhuman and cruel practice.
The ban on triple talaq has not only benefitted the daughters, but men too, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Parliament in the Budget session as he vouched for gender equality. He added that men and women are on a par today and there was no reason for the marriage age of males and females to be different.
Recently, Ittihad-e-Millat Council chief Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan’s daughter-in-law Nida Khan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nida, who is a victim of triple talaq, said: “BJP’s fight against triple talaq was the turning point for supporting the party. The security given to women by the BJP Government by making a law on triple talaq will be a big issue in the elections this time.”