NEW DELHI:The country’s five seniormost judges, all of different faiths, declared that triple talaq, the practice of Muslim men getting an instant divorce by saying “talaq” three times, will be barred for six months until Parliament brings in a law.
The judges are from different communities – Chief Justice JS Khehar (Sikh) and Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), RF Nariman (Parsi), UU Lalit (Hindu) and Abdul Nazeer (Muslim).
The constitution bench heard seven petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the 1,400-year-old practice, including by one who was divorced on WhatsApp.
The absence of a woman judge on this crucial panel that affects Muslim women across the country had drawn criticism. Justice R Bhanumati is the only woman judge in the top court.
Muslims are governed by the personal law that came into force in 1937. The NDA government has long argued that practices such as triple talaq violate fundamental rights of women.
The Muslim Personal Law Board has opposed any court intervention, arguing that the court must keep out of matters of faith.
The board did offer suggestions to check the practice – getting men to guarantee during the wedding they will not subject their wives to triple talaq, and a social boycott of men who do.
The Centre told the Supreme Court that the practices like ‘triple talaq’ impact the social status and dignity of Muslim women and deny them fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.