In striking down and barring the abhorrent practice of “triple talaq”, (instant divorce), the Supreme Court of India has, in one fell swoop, done more than any government has dared to do, since independence. The top court has not just termed triple talaq unconstitutional , illegal and against the teachings of the Quran, but it has also affectively insulated Muslim women from being divorced in a jiffy and will henceforth have the same rights as their counterparts on other religions in matters of marriage .
The landmark judgement must come as a huge victory for not just the Haldwani-based Shayara Bano, the main petitioner in the Supreme Court, but also millions of Muslim women in the country who have had to live through the fear and humiliation of a quickie divorce. There have also been instances of men divorcing their wives by pronouncing talaq three times, sometimes over the phone and even through text messages. It is in many ways a bittersweet moment for the likes of Shayara Bano who was divorced through a letter sent by speed post, while 29-year-old Zahida, mother of two, was divorced via an SMS by her husband in Burdwan; 40-year-old Khadija, mother of four, was divorced by her Muscat-based husband on the phone. The judgement validates their inalienable rights as woman but has come too late to change their own plight.
The majority verdict has not only invalidated and banned triple talaq but in doing, so it has deprived political parties of the opportunity to politicise and claim credit for the decision. Though the minority view of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice S. Abdul Nazir called for parliament to legislate within six months, the majority verdict has clearly banned the abhorrent practice. The AIMPLB says it will take a considerate view on September 10 at their executive meeting in Bhopal, but they have no choice but to fall in line, and accept the apex court’s verdict.
Not a tear will be shed now that Triple Talaq has been affectively and rightfully consigned to the dustbin of history.