Abolition of Triple Talaq

Talaq in the formal sense of the term refers to divorce under the Muslim Law. Under Triple talaq or instant divorce, a Muslim man can dissolve the marriage with his wife by merely uttering the word 3 times viz: Talaq Talaq Talaq

Meaning of Triple Talaq

Talaq in the formal sense of the term refers to divorce under the Muslim Law. Under Triple talaq or instant divorce, a Muslim man can dissolve the marriage with his wife by merely uttering the word 3 times viz: Talaq Talaq Talaq. The Law that legalised Triple talaq was the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937, which bestowed special rights on a Muslim husband over his wife. However, after uttering the word Talaq, the man has to wait for 3 menstrual periods before finally letting his wife leave and this waiting period is called iddah. Over centuries this practice has been deemed as highly insensitive and discriminatory towards women and seemed very unfair towards not only a Muslim woman but also towards the female population in the world in general, who could be divorced in an instant and sometimes even without valid reason.

 

Triple Talaq – A violation of Human rights

The triple talaq system was a huge form of harassment for Muslim women because their husbands had every liberty to divorce them even if they were slightly angry with their wives or plainly just a bit tired of the relationship. This was a clear violation of the fundamental right to life of the women as well as the right to equality under the constitution of India. Many of the Muslim countries, leaving aside India had over the years abolished Triple Talaq as being an archaic and barbaric practice. The practice of Triple Talaq raised issues of Gender equality and secularism under our Constitution. This practice rendered the Muslim women as a highly oppressed section under the system since they had no rights or say in the matter concerning their own marriage and had no choice but to accept the fate of their newly dissolved marriage through divorce. Therefore, on 22 August 2017, the Indian Supreme Court passed a law making triple talaq or talaq-e-biddah unconstitutional. This new law was an outcome of a high-profile court case filed in 2016 by Shayara Bano, a Muslim woman who fell victim triple-talaq. In this landmark 2017 judgment, the Indian Supreme court declared talaq-i-biddat invalid and unconstitutional, and instructed the government to amend the existing law. The Hon’ble Supreme court justified its point of view that the Hanafi School itself considered this form of Talaq, as sinful. Anything against the basic tenets of Quoran was always contrary to Shariat law and hence anything bad in theology was never good in law. The Bench relied on the decision Shamim Ara, and held that a practice of Triple Talaq was against both theology and law. Therefore, even if it is followed by a large number of people it cannot be a valid form of practice. Hence, this practice was declared unconstitutional.

The concept of Triple Talaq, which is Islamic law on divorce, had been abolished in Islamic nations like Pakistan way back in 1961. Along with Pakistan, 21 other countries including India’s neighbours Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had also abolished it. This raised the question of why India had not yet illegalized this tyrannical law in the many years that followed after it being declared as illegal in the neighbouring nations?

India has been fighting for gender equality for a long time and hence it seemed about time for the country to abolish this highly prejudicial, patriarchal and discriminatory law against women. It was one of the most criticised aspect within the country and it was questioned by many as to why it took the nation till the year 2017 to recognise that such oppressive rules are also hindrances.

Steps towards Abolition of Triple Talaq

After the Supreme Court passed the above verdict the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 was passed in the Indian Parliament on 26 July 2019, in an attempt to give better life and gender equality to the Muslim Women.  This Act lays down that triple talaq (talaq-e-biddah) in any form, whether verbal or written, or conveyed through electronic means viz: email or SMS/ Whatsapp is illegal and void. It laid down that there would be imprisonment for a period of three years for the husband, in case he still resorts to Triple talaq as a means of dissolving the marriage. Further, under this new law a Muslim woman is even entitled to demand maintenance for her dependent children

Thus with the introduction of this Act, a very ancient and discriminator method of divorce had been eradicated in India. This was a very crucial step towards women empowerment.

Emergence of new trends after abolition of Triple talaq

It is because of the abolition of this arbitrary practice that Muslim women are living a more dignified life today and enjoy gender equality with their male counterparts. This has led to the holistic development of the Muslim women, who were a much oppressed section of the Community. This was an ultimate end to a barbaric practice even in our Country, as most of the Islamic Countries had done away with this law a long time back, as opposed to India which has only recently abolished this practice.  The law makers declared that the Triple Talaq practice violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India and this has really helped our country to move in the direction of progress.

Also, as a step towards guaranteeing equality to a Muslim woman under Clause 6 in Chapter 3 it is stated that a married Muslim woman is entitled to custody of her minor children in the event of pronouncement of talaq by her husband, in such manner as may be determined by the Magistrate. Thus, the new legislation was very woman friendly as opposed to the barbaric law which just exploited women and treated them as objects.