Centre asks SC to decide legality of triple talaq, polygamy
The Centre has framed four questions for the Supreme Court, asking it to decide on the legality of triple talaq, polygamy, and other personal laws. For the first time, the SC has laid out rules for the parties to argue, including early declaration of judgments they would cite for their case. However, the SC will stay clear of the topic of uniform civil code.
The Quran is on the side of the male, or so Islamic-law makes it seem. A woman, once married, has no say in her situation. If the husband wishes to divorce his wife, he is free to do so and the wife is turned out of the house. However, the husband is required to provide some means of material sustenance to his divorced spouse.
If after the month long pondering, the husband has not changed his mind, he says 'talaq' again. There is once again a month long review period. If at the end of this month the husband has not had a change of heart, then he says 'talaq' again. The divorce now becomes final and cannot be revoked, even by the man.
A recent survey conducted amongst Indian Muslim women found that 88% of the women wanted the "triple talaq" system be replaced with "talaq-e-ahsan". The latter is a legal divorce method spread over a period of 90 days and involving negotiation. Triple talaq and oral unilateral decisions are unjust to women because they give no warning to the women, and no time to negotiate either.
In Islamic historical record, transgressing Sharia law and saying 'talaq' three times in a row was seen as rebellion. Such a person would be punished for his rebellious conduct and flogged.
The Supreme Court has decided to re-look at the Muslim divorce law to safeguard Muslim women from arbitrary divorce and the adversity they face due to polygamy. The SC will ascertain if the "discrimination" endured by women under Islamic laws infringes upon their fundamental rights "under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution and international conventions."
A centre-appointed committee recommended that "oral, unilateral and triple talaq or divorce, as well as polygamy" should be banned. The committee that had been set-up to review the status of women in India stated that talaq made wives 'vulnerable' and very insecure regarding their marital status. Further, the committee suggested that amendments were needed in the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939.
A fatwa has been issued in Uttar Pradesh, allowing women to use the 'triple-talaq' rule to divorce men. The path-breaking move was made by the Dargah Ala Hazrat in Bareilly in western Uttar Pradesh. The other influential Islamic sect, the Deobandis, have also supported this view. The fatwa has been ratified by the Darul Ifta Manzar-e-Islam, which helps interpreting Islamic law.
The Madras HC ruled that the triple talaq certificates issued by chief Qazis were not legal and that they are mere opinions under the 1880 Kazis Act. The bench announced that no more certificates would be handed out; however, the Muslim Personal Law Board has to approve this. The bench has posted the matter for hearing again on 21 Feb.