Legal luminaries on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the practice of triple talaq among Muslims, by terming it as “historic, progressive and path-breaking”, which would restore the equality, dignity and respect of crores of women. They were also of the opinion that the verdict would protect the Muslim women, who could now march towards the path of progress and prosperity like any other citizen of India. This view was shared by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who had advanced the stand of the Narendra Modi government in the apex court, and senior advocate Soli Sorabjee.
Sorabjee even went to the extent of saying that instead of delivering a split verdict, the five judges should have come up with a unanimous judgment.
Kapil Sibal, the Congress leader who represented the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) before the five-judge constitution bench, told PTI that this was a “dying” and “sinful” practice.
Even the AIMPLB had agreed to suggest to the Qazis to grant the women the liberty to say ‘no’ to ‘talaq-e-biddat’ at the time of the execution of the Nikahnama (marriage contract), he said, adding, “We welcome the judgment in its entirety.”
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani said though the judgment had to be welcomed, it was only limited to triple talaq.
“It is a welcome judgment in a right direction, but it is limited to triple talaq, also called talaq-e-biddat.
“It does not cover all the forms of talaq like Hasan and Ahsan, which also could have been dealt with as the quest should be for a full-fledged gender upliftment. This is only a small step,” he said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal welcomed the verdict and praised his predecessor Rohatgi, saying the latter had done a “commendable job” in putting forward the stand of the Modi government, which had been vindicated by the apex court.
Rohatgi said, “The judgment is a step towards achieving the ultimate goal of Uniform Civil Code.”
While Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand said the verdict “speaks volume about the progress of the nation”, senior advocate Aman Sinha, who is also a BJP spokesperson, said “it would grant crores of Muslim women the right to lead life with dignity and respect — what Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken about on Independence Day”.
So was the view of BJP MP and lawyer Meenakshi Lekhi, who said the “political will” of the NDA government had led to the verdict, otherwise the fate of the case could have been the same as that of the 1985 judgment in the Shah Bano case, when the then Congress government came up with a law to undermine the Supreme Court verdict to overwrite the maintenance issue for Muslim women.
A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court, by a 3:2 majority, today ruled that the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims was “void, illegal and unconstitutional”.