Supreme Court bans Muslim instant divorce custom

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The Indian Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photo: Google Maps

The Supreme Court on Tuesday banned the instant Muslim divorce custom known as  “triple-talaq,” declaring the practice unconstitutional and un-Islamic, PTI reported.

Traditionally, a Muslim man could end his marriage by uttering the word “talaq’” three times. Despite the fact that Pakistan and 21 other Muslim countries had abolished triple-talaq, either explicitly or implicitly, its practice continued in India, and it has been a controversial issue for over a century.

A bench of five judges from different faiths deliberated for three months before issuing its order, which comes in response to petitions from seven Muslim women who were divorced through triple-talaq.

Tuesday’s 3:2 majority verdict was delivered by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar (Sikh), Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), Rohinton Nariman (Parsi), Uday Lalit (Hindu) and SA Abdul Nazeer (Muslim), the Deccan Chronicle reported. The bench reportedly said, “In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or triple-talaq is set aside.”

Victims, including Shayara Bano, whose abusive husband used triple-talaq to divorce her by letter in 2015, challenged the validity of her husband’s ejection of her from their home using triple-talaq. She endured a bad marriage, an abusive husband who harassed her for a dowry, and abused her physically and mentally for over 10 years. She said her husband forced her to take pills to induce six abortions, which ruined her health.

Justice Joseph said triple-talaq was not sanctioned by the Quran and was therefore not protected as a fundamental religious right, the Times of India reported.

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