Kerala Woman Moves Supreme Court Against Triple Talaq Law
Noorbina Rasheed, a woman from Kerala, moved the Supreme Court against the criminalisation of the triple talaq practice on July 6, becoming the first Muslim woman to do so since the law came into effect in 2019. Her petition opposes the excessive nature of the triple talaq law, stating that it does not warrant the “protection of women” and is instead quite “detrimental” in nature.
Talaq-e-biddat, or triple talaq, practiced within a few Muslim communities, allowed for the husband to instantly divorce his wife by simply uttering “talaq, talaq, talaq.” After uproarious debates in the Parliament in 2019, this practice was deemed punishable with up to three years of imprisonment under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage Act) 2019.
What does her petition state?
Rasheed, who is the national general secretary of the Indian Union Women’s League (IUML), issued a petition to the Centre, which has been accepted and will be heard alongside other similar pleas of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Muslim Advocates Association, and other petitioners that oppose the criminalisation of triple talaq.
Her petition claims that “The protection of women cannot be achieved by incarceration of husbands,” Hindustan Times reported. She also challenged the validity of a provision in the law that grants permission to relatives of the wife to file a complaint, stating that such an allowance would be “highly detrimental not only to the wife but also to the marital relationship.”
Furthermore, Rasheed through her petition has expressed that pronouncing the triple talaq as a criminal offence specifically targets “one community”, doubting the law’s real intent. She stated, “Welfare-oriented legislation would promote amicable resolution of matrimonial disputes rather than criminalise marital discord, particularly criminalisation of only one community…the intent behind the Act is not abolition of triple talaq [instant divorce] but punishment of Muslim husbands.”
Muslim women divided over Triple Talaq
The law declaring triple talaq unconstitutional and punishable had come into effect following a petition filed by Shayara Bano and four other women who had been divorced by their husbands under the practice. Both the ban, in 2017, and then the criminalisation, in 2019, had caused uproarious debates in the lower and upper houses of the Parliament, with 74 MPs opposing the bill. It had received strong criticism from the opposition, which called the law a “historic mistake” and that the centre should not interfere in personal religious matters.
However, the RSS-affiliated Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) stated that it had received over 1 million signatures from Indian Muslims, a majority of whom were women, on its petition demanding for the triple talaq practice to be abolished. In opposition, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and women activists strongly condemned the law, stating that it was a “step backward” for women empowerment. Petitioners, which included Muslim women, raised concerns like “Who will take care of the children when the husband goes to jail?”
Aside from India, the triple talaq practice is notably banned in 22 other countries, including Muslim-majority ones like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Iraq,
Tanvi Akhauri is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.