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Supreme Court Bars Triple Talaq, Asks Parliament To Make A Law

The government had backed triple talaq petitioners, declaring the practice unconstitutional.

New Delhi:  Instant triple talaq, which allows Muslim men to leave their wives immediately by uttering “talaq” (divorce) thrice, has been barred for six months by the Supreme Court until parliament brings law.

In a landmark verdict today, five senior most judges called triple talaq “bad in law” and said: “We hope the legislature will consider and take into account Muslim Personal Law while making legislation. All parties must keep their politics away and decide this.”

Triple talaq is legal for Muslims according to the constitution, but several Muslim women who have been divorced, including on Skype and on WhatsApp, had challenged the 1400-year-old practice.

Five judges of different faiths – Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer – heard the case over five days from May 12 to May 18. The court had framed questions that included whether triple talaq is fundamental to Islam and whether it is an enforceable fundamental right.

During the arguments, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board described the divorce practice as “horrendous”, “sinful” and “undesirable” with no sanction of the Quran and the Shariat. However, India’s largest Muslim body had also cautioned that “testing the validity of customs and practices was a slippery slope”.

The Muslim personal law board issued an advisory that Muslim women should be given the choice to opt out of instant triple talaq before their nikah or wedding.

The government had backed the petitioners, declaring triple talaq unconstitutional, and derogatory and discriminatory for women. 

But the government had argued that the court should first pronounce its decision on the constitutional validity of the triple talaq and other forms of talaq, only then it would bring a law.