JOURNEY OF TRIPLE TALAQ IN INDIA

Talaq is an Islamic word for divorce and means separating and breaking ties of marriage. As per Sharia law there are many more ways in which a marriage can be ended but triple talaq is one of them. Muslim Marriage is a civil contract, the Muslim Law imposes obligation upon the husband to pay consideration of the marriage to the wife as a mark of respect. As per Hanafi law talaq -ul-biddat or triple talaq can only be given by husband and has validity in the eyes of law.  Talaq- ul-biddat can be performed by husband by saying the word talaq thrice in a single sitting. No evidence is required to prove the talaq pronounced by husbands, also the presence of third person is not necessary and the women are left with no options.

Triple talaq haunts Muslim women. When she knocks the court’s door for maintenance, the husband tries to defend himself by pretending to have divorced his wife in the past, even if it is not so because no burden of proof lies on husband to prove the statement of triple talaq and intention for dissolution of marriage. Such incidents become stressful for women when court refuses to give any relief in their favour.

Over 22 countries in the world have declared the practice of triple talaq as null and void. On 18th April 1996 a rally towards Mantralaya in Bombay marked the first step for protecting Muslim women against the evil Triple Talaq.

In Mohd. Ahmed Khan v Shah Bano Begum (AIR 1985 SC 954) Five -Member Bench of Supreme Court held that Section 124 of Criminal Procedure Code which talks about maintenance will be applicable to every divorced wife irrespective of any religion. Even after this development there were numerous cases where the women were denied justice.

In 2017 in Shayara Bano and others v. Union of India and others, Writ Petition (C) No. 118 of 2016 the Supreme Court of India comprising of a Five Judge’s Constitution Bench passed landmark judgment in the history of triple talaq by banning the Muslim practice of triple talaq in India by declaring it as an unconstitutional and struck it down by 3:2 majority.

On 28th December 2017 The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 [The Bill] was introduced in Lok Sabha and was also passed the very same day. Though it could not be passed by Rajya Sabha as the time it reached there the tenure of the Government was over and the bill ultimately lapsed.

Again, in July 2019 the Bill was introduced in Parliament and was finally passed by both the Houses. It received the assent of the President on 31st July 2019 and was also notified in the Official Gazette. It is said to replace the Triple Talaq Ordinance which was promulgated in February 2018. According to the newly passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 [The Act] any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal, and punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Thus, the 1400-year-old unfair practice comes to an end the great relief of Muslim Women who were left with no resort. With the passing of the new Act the divorced women can claim their rights which were previously denied to them and hereafter the mere pronouncement of the word Talaq will not constitute dissolution of marriage.

Aakritee Gambhir

Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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