India’s Supreme Court has outlawed Islamic mode of pronouncing divorce on women, in which a Muslim would say ‘Talaq’ – ‘divorce’ in Arabic – three times in quick succession.
India is one of the few countries where a Muslim man, by way of Qur’anic injunction, can divorce his wife by pronouncing the Talaq.
A 3-2 majority judgment by five-judges, ruled that the practice was unconstitutional, illegal and a violation of the right to equality.
Former attorney general Mukul Rohtagi, who represented the Indian government in court, welcomed the judgment.
“The constitution is the highest law. All laws, including personal laws, must abide by constitutional guarantees and constitutional freedoms, including the right to live with dignity.
“There is no manner of doubt that this judgement will go in showing whole world, that we are progressive nation and the constitution applies with equal force to all, including Muslim women, and they will also walk without fear, just like women of other communities.”
An Indian Muslim Women’s Movement group, one of the petitioners, Zakia Soman said: “we are very happy, we have won. We, the Muslim women, were till so far deprived of a law which is gender-just, which upholds our rights in marriage and in family.
“It is because of the domination and hegemony of patriarchal elements that Muslim women have suffered for the last 70 years. It is a historic day for us.
“But it doesn’t end here. A proper, longer battle for social reform, for women’s empowerment, awareness, education has to be taken up.”
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government backed petitioners in the landmark case, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi often speaking against the practice.
“It grants equality to Muslim women and is a powerful measure for women empowerment. It is historic judgment,” Modi said in a tweet.[myad]