BJP using triple talaq ruling to impose uniform civil code: CPI-M

Jamiat Ulama-i Hind on Triple talaq'SC verdict is against Islamic Shariyat

Initial reactions by women activists to the Supreme Court's verdict on instantaneous triple talaq or Talaq-e-biddat have been celebratory, but Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's statement a day later hinting that the verdict will not require a new law to be made, has left many hopefuls feeling disappointed and defeated.

The Muslim women, who had filed the petitions, had challenged the practice of "triple talaq" in which the husband pronounces "talaq" thrice in one go, sometimes even by phone or a text message, to get divorce. While maintaining that the practice is "evil", they nonetheless want to retain it based on spurious arguments about the fundamental right to practise religion. This is a milestone for women empowerment the Court did not even have to elaborate on how triple Talaq violates gender equality. Just $5 a month. "In this case, the effects of this verdict on these issues can't be overruled", it said. "Muslim Women" is a huge constituency and they played their cards well. On one hand, CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer hold that instant triple talaq is not unconstitutional and provide elaborate reasoning for the same, while justices Nariman and Lalit contend that it is unconstitutional without ascribing any reason for the same.

The verdict resonated across political lines.

"U.P. has the highest number of triple talaq, crores of Muslim women were rejoicing the freedom and thanking Prime Minister Modi", said Siddharth Nath Singh, Health Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government when the judgment was passed.

Not surprisingly, the practice of triple talaq - which many Islamic scholars say is not mentioned in the Holy Quran and is banned in most Muslim countries, including Pakistan -has many champions among Muslim men in India.

With her parents deceased - her mother due to an accident that also seriously injured her - and after her adult brother killed himself over her divorce, she says she was desperate.

The two judges maintained that the courts can not adjudicate on Islamic personal laws and failed to distinguish between statutory laws and faith. The board members oppose "interference" in the "divine" law from governments and policymakers who have in the past attempted to regulate it.

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So the declaration by justices in Delhi that the practice is unconstitutional was a relief and victory for India's 90 million Muslim women.

In any event, we must ask if a woman's right to equality and dignity must only be defined in terms of marriage and divorce. As attacks on Muslims by Hindu vigilantes mount, followers of Islam in India grow increasingly unnerved. "There is no remedy for women against the practice till a law is framed", Faiz, also the president of Rashtrawadi Muslim Mahila Sangh, said. "The rules for their education, employment and development must be clearly defined".

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday took to Twitter to share a video on Triple Talaq verdict. While in many Muslim countries, such a terrible practice has been banned long ago, the Indian Muslims had to wait for so many decades and that too after a judicial intervention to outlaw this inhumane practice of instant triple talaq, legitimised by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937. It did not address issues like nikah halala or the unilateral privilege of men using two other ways of divorce - talaq-e-ahsan and talaq-e-hasan.

"The BJP is trying to utilise the arguments against triple talaq as grounds for imposing a uniform civil code", an editorial in the CPI-M journal People's Democracy said. Personal law is neither a fundamental right nor is it protected by Article 25 of the Constitution, which protects individuals, not "laws".

The existing personal laws premised on religions means that individuals of different faiths are subject to different laws.

India is officially secular and its constitution allows its 1.25 billion citizens to be governed by their own religious laws when it comes to marriage, divorce and property inheritance.

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