A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar has begun hearing petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq. The petitions that have been filed in the past two years by Muslim women, who have been affected by the practice of Triple Talaq, has prayed for the abolition of the practice as it was discriminatory and biased and violated their right to equality. The lead petition has been titled “Quest for Equality vs Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind“. Interestingly, the case will be heard by five judges from five different communities, namely, CJI J S Khehar (Sikh) and Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), R F Nariman (Parsi), U U Lalit (Hindu) and Abdul Nazeer (Muslim).
The Supreme Court will complete hearing of the petitions before May 19. A judgment in the case can be expected to be delivered in the month of June.
The Supreme Court has stated that it would determine the constitutional validity of the triple talaq and would not examine the Islamic custom of polygamy, while hearing petitions challenging triple talaq.
Talaq-ul-bidat or Triple talaq is a Sharia law practice which men are given power to end a marriage by simply saying the Urdu word ‘talaq’ three times at one sitting.
India has world’s third-largest Muslim population governed by the Sharia or Islamic jurisprudence. Under the Sharia law, women face the threat of oral and out-of-court divorce by uttering triple talaq. There are reports that several women are being divorced even via phone, text messages, newspapers advertisements, instant messaging apps like WhatsApp.
According to the petitioners, triple talaq is not a form of divorce recognised in the Quran.
The Central government has come out in favour of abolishing the practice of triple talaq. The Central government as a part of its written submissions to the Supreme Court has stated that since gender equality is part of the basic structure of the Constitution, Muslim women cannot be denied this right. This is the first time the Central government has taken a firm stand on this contentious issue.