International desk, August 22: India’s top court has ruled the practice of instant divorce in Islam unconstitutional, marking a major victory for women’s rights activists.In a 3-2 majority verdict, the court called the practice “un-Islamic”.
India is one of a handful of countries where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.
The landmark court decision came in response to petitions challenging the so-called “triple talaq” custom.
The cases were filed by five Muslim women who had been divorced in this way and two rights groups.
“Muslim women in India have suffered for the last 70 years. It’s a historic day for us, but it doesn’t end here. I cannot tell you how much Indian women have supported us, despite their religions,” Zakia Soman, an activist from Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, one of the groups which contested the practice, told reporters.
Three of the judges called the controversial practice “un-Islamic, arbitrary and unconstitutional”. One of the judges, Justice Kurien Joseph, said the practice was not an essential part of Islam and enjoyed no protection.
Chief Justice JS Khehar, in a differing opinion, said that personal law could not be touched by a constitutional court of law.
The opposing judgements also recommended that parliament legislate on the issue. However this is not binding and is up to parliament to take up.