A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday in a split verdict ruled that the practice of instant triple talaq in the Muslim community is invalid. The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, set aside the practice by a majority of 3:2.
While CJI Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer upheld the practice of triple talaq, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held that the practice needs to be abolished.
CJI Khehar ruled that triple talaq enjoys the status of fundamental rights as it is a part of Muslim personal law. He was in favour of putting the practice aside for a period of six months allowing Parliament to legislate on it. CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer, in their minority verdict, asked political parties to set aside their differences and introduce a new law on the practice, taking into account concerns of Muslim bodies and the Sharia law.
Meanwhile, Justices Joseph, Nariman and Lalit said that triple talaq must be struck down as it goes against the constitution and is unacceptable. Justice Kurian ruled that triple talaq goes against the tenets of the Quran, and hence violates Shariat law. “It is extremely difficult to agree with the CJI that triple talaq is integral to the practice of Islam,” he said. Justice Nariman and Justice Lalit set it aside, terming it invalid.
In reaction to the verdict, Shayara Bano, the main petitioner said, “I welcome and support the judgment. It is a historic day for Muslim women. In the Muslim community, the condition of women needs to be understood. This judgment needs to be accepted and the law must be made as soon as possible,” reported ANI.
Union Minister for Women and Child Development said, “It is a good judgment and its another step towards gender justice and gender equality.” Read: BJP says SC’s verdict will protect fundamental rights of Muslim women
Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid, who was allowed by the court to assist it as amicus curiae, said, “What we hoped to happen has now happened, it is a good decision.” During the hearing, he had told the Supreme Court that instant triple talaq “cannot be justified or given legal validity”.
The Supreme Court, which began hearing petitions challenging the practice on May 11, had reserved its verdict on May 18, six days after the marathon hearing. Six Muslim women petitioners had argued that it was “unlawful and unconstitutional”. During the hearing, the court had observed that it would examine whether the practice within the Muslim community is an “enforceable” fundamental right to practice religion.
Read the Supreme Court’s verdict on triple talaq here:
(With inputs from agencies)