The Supreme Court in August this year declared “triple talaq” — a form of divorce practised by Muslims in India allowing a man to end his marriage by uttering the word “talaq” thrice in written, oral or electronic mediums — unconstitutional.
In its judgment, the court noted that Muslim-majority nations such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had also made triple talaq illegal and directed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre to introduce a law banning it.
While many Muslims, including women’s rights groups and religious leaders, supported the initiative to end “triple talaq” as they found it unconstitutional and irreligious, there was also considerable opposition to it.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board opposed the ruling, arguing that the court had no business interfering in religious practices of a community and that the percentage of divorce in Muslims was far less than in other communities.
The biggest bone of contention was the provision in the Bill for making instant divorce a criminal offence among Muslim men. As the Muslim Women (Protection on Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 27, this provision became the principal cause of friction between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, keen to garner electoral gains from the Muslim community, and the opposition, which wanted the Bill referred to a Parliamentary committee.