In a landmark judgment, the supreme Court of India today declared “triple talaq” void, illegal and unconstitutional. In a 3-2 majority judgement, a five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court held that ‘triple talaq’ violated Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution and was against the basic tenets of Islam. The petitioners, mainly Muslim women, had challenged the practice of ‘triple talaq’ in which the husband pronounced ‘talaq’ thrice in one go, sometimes even by phone or a text message, to get a divorce.
Here is the chronology of events related to TRIPLE TALAQ VERDICT:
*Oct 16, 2015: SC bench asks chief justice of India to set up an appropriate bench to examine if Muslim women face gender discrimination in divorce cases while dealing with a case of Hindu succession.
*Feb 5, 2016: SC asks then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to assist it on the pleas challenging constitutional validity of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy. *Mar 28: SC asks Centre to file report of a high-level panel on ‘Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritence and succession’.
SC impleads various organisations, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), as parties in the suo motu matter.
*Jun 29: SC says ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims will be tested on “touchstone of constitutional framework”. *Oct 7: For the first time in India’s constitutional history, Centre opposes in SC these practises and favours a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism. *Feb 14, 2017: SC allows various interlocutory pleas to be tagged along with the main matter. *Feb 16: SC says a five-judge constitution bench would be set up to hear and decide the challenge to ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy.
*Mar 27: AIMPLB tells SC pleas were not maintainable as the issues fall outside judiciary’s realm. *Mar 30: SC says these issues are “very important” and involve “sentiments” and says a constitution bench would start hearing it from May 11.
*May 11: SC says it would examine whether the practise of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion. *May 12: SC says the practise of triple talaq was the “worst” and “not desirable” form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims.
*May 15: Centre tells SC that it will bring new law to regulate marriage and divorce among the Muslim community if triple talaq struck down.
SC says it would examine whether triple talaq was an essential part of religion under Article 25 of Constitution. *May 16: AIMPLB tells SC that matters of faith cannot be tested on grounds of constitutional morality, says triple talaq a matter of faith for last 1,400 years. Equates the issue of triple talaq with the belief that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya.
*May 17: SC asks AIMPLB whether a woman can be given an option of saying ‘no’ to triple talaq at the time of execution of ‘nikahnama’.
Centre tells SC triple talaq is neither integral to Islam nor a “majority versus minority” issue but rather an “intra-community tussle” between Muslim men and deprived women.
*May 18: SC reserves verdict on triple talaq. *May 22: AIMPLB files affidavit in SC saying it would issue an advisory to ‘Qazis’ to tell bridegrooms that they will not resort to triple talaq to annul their marriage. AIMPLB lists out in SC guidelines for married couples. These include “social boycott” of those Muslims who resort to triple talaq and the appointment of an arbitrator to settle marital disputes.
*Aug 22: SC by majority verdict of 3:2 rules that divorce through triple talaq is void, illegal and unconstitutional and against basic tenets of Quran.