The Supreme Court on Tuesday pronounced its verdict on the controversial instant triple talaq practice terming it “unconstitutional". The apex court termed the Islamic practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality before the law.
The 5-judge constitutional bench, headed by the Chief Justice JS Khehar, delivered a spilt verdict (3:2) invalidating the practice as part of the Muslim Personal Law.
The majority judgment came from three judges, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice UU Lalit. CJI JS Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer gave a contrarian judgment.
Chief Justice JS Kehar was the first to pronounce the judgment stating that the Triple Talaq shall be upheld for six months and directed the Union govt to enact a law for the same. However, Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Uday Lalit and Kurian Joseph said the practice is arbitrary, and not fundamental to the tenets of Islam.
Justice Joseph said what cannot be true in theology cannot be protected by law. He added that triple talaq is not recognised by Koran and hence it couldn't be a practice to be protected under the right to religion. Justice Abdul Nazeer and Chief Justice JS Khehar upheld the validity of triple talaq.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing during the summer vacation.
During the hearing, the apex court had clarified that it may not deliberate upon the issue of polygamy and said it would only examine whether triple talaq was part of an "enforceable" fundamental right to practice religion by the Muslims.Besides CJI Khehar, the bench also included Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and S Abdul Nazeer.
"The Supreme Court decision is historic, it is thevictory of women in the country. But more than that, it is thevictory of Islam," said President of the All India MuslimWomen Personal Law Board Shaista Amber, who has been fightingfor the rights of Muslim women. "We hope that triple talaq will be banned once and forall in times to come," she said, adding it causes immensehardships to Muslim women even though "there is no provisionof triple talaq in Islam".
"This discriminatory arrangement is made by so-calledreligious leaders and it has harmed the lives of lakhs ofwomen...the decision has given new hope to Muslim women," she said.
The Supreme Court by a majority verdict ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims is"void", "illegal" and "unconstitutional" and held that it isagainst the basic tenets of Quran. Asking the government to enact a new law without harmingthe Sharia, she hoped that a new legislation will be broughtwithout any pressure to ensure welfare and prosperity of Muslim women.
The All India Shia Personal Law Board spokesperson Maulana Yasoob Abbas too welcomed the decision, saying it will helpend harassment of Muslim women in the name of triple talaq. "There was no arrangement of triple talaq in the times of Holy Prophet...We want a strong legislation against triple talaq...A law similar to the one against the practice of Sati," he said.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board General secretaryMaulana Wali Rehmani, however, refused to comment on theverdict saying, the board will sit together and decide onthe future steps in this matter.