Need to go beyond triple talaq, abolish Sharia law: Taslima

The Supreme Court ruling on triple talaq will start a new chapter in empowerment of Muslim women in India. Although the government had asked for a ban on all forms of talaq, the court has banned only instant talaq, and not other forms where the decision is not instantaneous. "All eyes are now on the outcome of the crucial meeting".

Religious scholars say that according to Islamic law, a divorce must be spread over three months, giving a couple the chance to reconcile. Many Islamic countries including Pakistan, Morocco, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Yemen and UAE etc have done away with the practice long ago.

The finance minister said the Triple Talaq practice left women remedy-less if a husband took advantage of it to cover his own wrong and terminate the marriage. "Global convention and practices of other countries are of no avail as practice of triple talaq is protected by Article 25", Zehra said quoting the two judges.

The triple talaq is banned in several Islamic countries but is still widely used among Muslims in India. Muslim organizations, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, are studying the judgement.

Some Muslim institutions have said that while triple talaq is wrong, the law should be reviewed by the community itself. "I appeal to the people to not politicise this issue and accept the Supreme Court's verdict on triple talaq", she told reporters outside the court.

A 3-2 majority judgement by five-judges, ruled that the practice was unconstitutional, illegal and a violation of the right to equality.

Then came a verdict: A five-judge bench moved to block instant divorce for six months, pending a law banning the practice to be debated in parliament.

Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has pushed for a so-called "uniform" civil code that would apply equally to all Indians, a move some Muslim groups have opposed. "This is the victory of the basic constitutional rights of Muslim women and their right to live with equality". The board claimed that the SC has also not held the practice of the triple talaq as ultra virus of the constitution.

Shayara Bano was the woman who initiated this legal challenge. At the end of the day, Muslim women should keep in mind that this verdict will not make any meaningful change in their daily life if they do not send their daughters and grand-daughters into career-oriented education and from there into cash-paying jobs.

  • Joanne Flowers