International desk – The top court in India on Tuesday declared the Muslim practice of men divorcing their wives instantly saying Arabic word ‘Talaq’ unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court also asked the government to enact a law to this end. The practice of instant divorce (triple Talaq) will be suspended for six months until a new law is framed.
The bench comprised of five senior judges of different faiths deliberated for three months before issuing its order. The order comes in response to petitions from seven Muslim women who had been divorced through triple talaq.
The government must now amend the sections of India’s Muslim personal law that allows the practice known as triple talaq. Taking the advantage of the practice, a section of Muslim men has been divorcing their wives simply by saying Talaq thrice. They even use telephone, whatsup or other social media to divorce their wives.
Indian women activists are happy with the verdict saying it was a historic day for Indian women.
Zakia Soman, the co-founder of the Indian Muslim Women’s Movement, which was part of the legal battle to end triple talaq, said the Muslim women are now entitled to justice from the court and the legislature.
More than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice of triple talaq. But India Muslims have been pursuing the practice saying banning of it would about to interference into their religious practice.
India allows marriage, divorce and matters related to inheritance under the religious law of Muslim, Christian and Hindu.
Most Hindu personal law has been overhauled and codified over the years while the Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.
Most of the 170 million Muslims, religious minority in India, are Sunnis governed by Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes.
The government supports an end to the practice and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in many public addresses that the practice oppresses Muslim women and needs to be ended, according to media reports.