Uniform Civil Code: Triple Talaq debate, Polygamy issue, etc.

Five years after SC verdict, talaq petitioners living as ‘half-divorcees’


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Five years after the Supreme Court’s five-judge Bench under then CJI J.S. Khehar invalidated instant triple talaq in August 2017, the women petitioners continue to live a life of half-divorcees.

What is triple talaq?

  • ‘Triple Talaq’ is a procedure of divorce under the Sharia Law which is a body of the Islamic law.
  • Under this, a husband can divorce his wife by pronouncing ‘Talaq’ thrice.
  • The Supreme Court invalidated instant triple talaq in the Shayara Bano versus the Union of India case while refraining from commenting on the state of their marriages directly.

What was the issue all about?

  • The case dates back to 2016 when the Supreme Court had sought assistance from the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of “triple talaq”.
  • The hearing also included cases of “nikah halala” and “polygamy”, to assess whether Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce.
  • The issue gained political momentum on March 2017 when the Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the Supreme Court that the issue of triple talaq falls outside the judiciary’s realm.
  • However, on August 22, the Supreme Court set aside the decade-old practice of instant triple talaq saying it was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Why was triple talaq abolished?

  • In spite of protests by Muslim women and activists world-wide the procedure was most prevalent throughout the country.
  • There are several instances where ‘triple talaq’ has enabled husbands to divorce arbitrarily, devoid of any substantiation.
  • Oral talaq or ‘triple talaq’ delivered through social media platforms like Skype, text messages, email and WhatsApp have become an increasing cause of worry for the community.
  • The ‘triple talaq’ has been abolished in 21 countries including Pakistan, but is still prevalent in India.
  • The Centre reasons that these practices are against constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international laws etc.
  • When these practices are banned in Islamic theocratic countries, the practices could have absolutely no base in religion and are only prevalent to permit the dominance of men over women.

Why in news now?

  • Half-divorce: Technically still married, practically divorced, they enjoy no conjugal rights nor receive any regular maintenance from the estranged husbands.
  • Cannot remarry: Practically abandoned, the women cannot remarry in the absence of a legally valid divorce.
  • No legal action: After the verdict, none of the men were visited by law enforcement bodies and told to take back their wives.
  • No legal implementation: Further, no arrests could be made for giving instant triple as the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 came into force long after the pronouncement of instant talaq.


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