Triple Talaq Bill finally becomes law in India following President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent two years after Supreme Court declared it void. Triple Talaq or instant divorce, a practice for separation between husband and wife in Islam, will henceforth be a punishable offence in India. The country is the home to the third-largest Muslim population in any country following Indonesia and Pakistan.
Before this legislation, the Supreme Court of India invalidated the law in 2017 following a petition by a woman. Shayara Bano, who spearheaded this crusade against the plight of Muslim women of India, was the original petitioner in this case. She approached the court in 2016 demanding the instant divorce pronounced by her husband be declared as illegal. Shayara Bano argued that it is against the fundamental rights of Muslim women.
Shayara Bano’s Story As a Crusader Against Triple Talaq
“Since my student life, I didn’t like the anti-women social traditions like triple talaq and halala. But when it happened to me… it (the dislike) grew. Normally, these things do not happen, but when it hits you, you realize how bad this practice really is,” says Bano.
The victim of custom as well as of circumstances, Shayara Bano saw all shades of misfortunes in an after-marriage life, marked with the greediness of the husband and the in-laws. Their demands for additional dowry, a rapacious tendency prevailing in the country, led to her subsequent troubles. When the demand was not met, it led to torture before culminating into the utterance of those words, which are considered the most ominous for a Muslim woman: she was condemned with triple talaq. Adding insult to injury, she was sent talaq, divorce note, through speed post.
Taking offence of the insulting custom and even more insulting way of conveying it, the indignant Bano approached the court to claim legally what she had been denied traditionally. Among the various challenges she faced during her legal battle against instant divorce, the foremost was the mental harassment. As one of the members of AIMPLB asked her to withdraw the case because he thought “she was going against Islam.”
Why Triple Talaq Legislation was Due!
Besides Shayara Bano’s endurance before the Supreme Court verdict on Triple Talaq issue or her celebration after it becoming into law following the President’s signature, there is still much to be said.
For long Triple Talaq remained a controversial matter in Islamic societies, and which has been lingering on for centuries. Resented by the women, who were obviously on the receiving end of this custom, the tradition of triple talaq was considered a sole prerogative of Muslim man. Probably, the uninterrupted and unopposed usage of this custom insensibly rendered it the ‘unquestionability’ regarding its practice.
But it is important to know that the custom itself has less to do with religion than its operational usage in a patriarchal society of medieval age.
Why Triple Talaq is Undesirable!
Triple talaq or the instant divorce in which a Muslim man seeks annulment of marriage with his wife by repeating the word of “talaq” three times. With the effect of which the separation between the two takes place immediately. This way of divorce is illogical, or putting more euphemistically, unjustified. Why?
Because in the actual practice what happens in the oriental societies, and particularly in India, that these separations occur amid extreme fights and misunderstandings. More particularly, when the husband is furious and his anger might lead him to utter triple talaq, which is irrevocable unless a more humiliating condition of halala is met (which is beyond the topic of this article).
One ugly aspect of triple talaq is that upon cooling down of temper, the husband sometimes regrets over his decision but it is too late by then as he cannot remarry her in triple talaq. The other aspect, which is even uglier than this, is that a woman’s life is merely depended on the whim of a man’s three words (of instant divorce).
Certainly, The Supreme Court triple talaq verdict in 2017, and subsequently it becoming into law now has a huge leap forward for the Muslim woman of India. From the NGOs to the politicians, all claiming to take the credit of this development. But, it is the Muslim women of the country whose perseverance and crusade against the injustice of triple talaq has eventually has paid off. It has won them the right from now on, and their lives will not be subject to the whims of their husbands and the three words that could ruin their lives.
Related: RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM IN INDIA: MUSLIM TEENAGER SET ON FIRE
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