Supreme Court of India judgment on triple talaq

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

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On August 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark judgment in the case of Shayara Bano vs Union of India, declaring the practice of triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) to be unconstitutional. The judgment was delivered by a 5-judge Constitution Bench, with a 3:2 majority.

The majority judgment, authored by Justice Rohinton Nariman, held that triple talaq is “manifestly arbitrary” and violates the fundamental rights of Muslim women guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution. The judgment also held that the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, which allows for triple talaq, is unconstitutional to the extent that it recognizes and upholds the practice.

The dissenting judgment, authored by Justice Kurian Joseph, argued that triple talaq is a part of Muslim personal law and is protected by the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution. Justice Joseph also argued that the Supreme Court should not have intervened in the matter, as it is a matter that should be left to Parliament to decide.

The judgment in the Shayara Bano case was a significant victory for Muslim women’s rights in India. It has helped to challenge the patriarchal structures that have traditionally marginalized women in Muslim communities. The judgment has also led to the passage of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, which makes triple talaq a criminal offense.

The Supreme Court’s judgment on triple talaq has been hailed by women’s rights activists and legal experts. However, it has also been criticized by some Muslim clerics and organizations. These critics argue that the judgment is an infringement on the right to freedom of religion. They also argue that the judgment will lead to the breakdown of Muslim families.

Despite the criticism, the Supreme Court’s judgment on triple talaq is a landmark decision that has paved the way for greater gender equality in India. The judgment has also sent a strong message that the Indian state will not tolerate the arbitrary and discriminatory treatment of women.