Instant divorce ban, a half victory for Indian Muslim women
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled against the practice and called on Parliament to come up with a law on this matter. A new Islamic marriage law must be approved within six months. For activist, "Muslim women will be able to enjoy their fundamental rights.”
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Supreme Court of India has ruled that Islamic “instant” divorce (known as triple talaq) is unconstitutional. India’s parliament now has six months to come up with an appropriate law on Islamic marriage, divorce and succession.
Yesterday three justices against two accepted a petition signed by 50,000 Muslim women, who have long complained about discrimination. Now husbands can no longer divorce their wives by simply pronouncing the word talaq (repudiation) three times.
According to the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB), the ruling was "a moment of great victory" that brought "tremendous relief." At the same time, women will not give up and for them only “half of the battle has been won.”
When the decision was announced, Muslim women expressed great appreciation. The justices have brought to a close an issue that has divided India’s Islamic community. Now parliament must draft a law that regulates Islamic marriage.
“We will be victorious in the true sense only once the law is framed so as to make this practice punishable. There is no remedy for women against the practice till a law is framed," said Farah Faiz, a member of the AIMWPLB and also president of the Rashtrawadi Muslim President Mahila Sangh.
According to AIMWPLB lawyer Chandra Rajan, this is a "landmark verdict, and the Supreme Court could not give more to Muslim women. The court has protected every Muslim woman."
Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), an association of Islamic women backed by the National Women's Commission (NCW), pushed the petition in recent months.
India is one of the few countries in the world where Islamic law still governs marriage. Even Pakistan and Bangladesh, countries with an Islamic majority, have abolished the rule.
Islamic marriage in India is regulated by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937, a law adopted under British rule. It applies to matters of marriage, divorce, succession, inheritance, and women’s personal property.
Approved to uphold Islamic cultural traditions, the law provides justification to discriminatory practices. But Muslim women have slammed verbal divorce as abusive, often carried out by men "remotely" via text messages or mail.
"Now, Muslim women will be able to enjoy their fundamental rights and have a codified law that will guarantee them,” said BMMA’s Noorjehan Niaz. “Just like the Hindu personal law which has legal backing, the law for Muslims should have the same".