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Triple Talaq; A Gender Discriminatory Practice

Women have come across numerous problems due to social beliefs, religion and traditions. This article is based on Triple Talaq, also known as Talaq-e-biddat, which has been a very prejudicial practice due to which Muslim women have been agonized to a great extent.

Even though we acknowledge that human rights are equal for both genders, somehow when it comes to religion and cultural norms, it become more of a question then an obvious statement. Triple Talaq has always been a controversial subject matter. In contrast to people who understand why this practice is erroneous, there are conformists who believe in conventional and unprogressive ideas. No matter when a Muslim woman decides to take a stand, they tend to cause an insurrection.

Triple Talaq has always been viewed as a political and religious controversy than that of a human rights one. Predominantly being practiced for self-serving and conceited reasons, this practice typically took place in households where domestic violence was a common occurrence. My article does not condemn a particular religion, but criticizes how Triple Talaq; a cultural practice, exploited and oppressed thousands of women, only to exonerate itself in the name of religion.

It is regretful how egalitarianism almost always ends up becoming an area of contention. India has not yet adopted Uniform Civil Code (Article 44 of the Indian Constitution), which in my point of view is a progressive and positive democracy, but given that India follows secularism, every religion is practiced according to the norms and traditions of their history.

When it comes to questioning a tradition of a particular religion, given the history of India, it never is too easy to abolish a tradition or start a new one. The practice of Talaq-e-biddat is said to be around for more than 1400 years. It is largely disapproved by Muslim Legal Scholars. Triple Talaq was predominantly practiced for self-absorbed and immodest reasons. Almost in all cases women were subjected to domestic violence.

It is an infamous practice of Islam that gives the husband right to divorce his wife by repeating 'Talaq' three times. It could be done orally and with the development of time, it was done through emails or messages too. the husband was not bound to state the cause of the divorce and the wife didn't need to be present at the time of the pronouncement. After the period of 'iddat' during which it is ascertained whether the wife is pregnant, the divorce becomes irrevocable. There are two ways the divorce could take place. The recommended practice was that after each 'Talaq' there would be a waiting period so the couple has a chance to reconcile and the second way which was more frowned upon but not prohibited was saying it three times at once.

India has a large population of Muslims and they are governed under Muslim Personal (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. The questions which were widely raised when the discrimination was questioned were, even if the traditions allow a man to say Talaq thrice, be it in the heat of the moment or any other reason, the same right is not granted to the women. Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan is a Muslim women's advocacy group, who launched a campaign against triple Talaq and stated that it is not sanctioned in the Quran. A survey was conducted by them which showed that more than 90% women were against this cultural norm.

Article 25 of the constituion grants religious freedom but any practice that leads the religion to violate human rights and intentionally or unintentionally support gender inequality, should without wasting time be unconstitutional and illegal. In 2015, Shayara Bano, from Uttarakhand, filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on Triple Talaq when her husband sent her a letter pronouncing 'Talaq' thrice and ended 15 year long marriage based on three words that too sent by letter.

Her petition requested the Supreme Court to declare Triple Talaq, polygamy and nikah halala illegal and unconstitutional on the grounds that they violate the rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25. Supreme court in 2015 registered a suo motu PIL petition to examine if triple Talaq is against women rights.

On 22nd August 2017, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in a split verdict ruled that the practice of triple Talaq unconstitutional. Some can say that it was a win for muslim community and upliftment of gender equality, yes it was a win but we are in the 21st century where basic rights for women take years to be given.

Hiding a social evil behind the thin veil of culture is not a foreign concept in our country. When it comes to religion and rights of women, the lines or right and wrong tend to get blurred very often. Women Empowerment is not a movement, it's a necessary revolution needed for dignity. Relying on religion to deny rights to a particular gender has been happening through history. Banning Triple Talaq is a huge step forward in the Muslim community but a small step in the world itself.

The question should never have been 'If abolishing the practice goes against Muslim communities right to be governed under personal law' instead it should have been 'How being a developing country have the authority and public ignored or not heard the voices of suppressed women and what can be done to change it'. It's always the wrong question asked.

Criticism is not taken well If it's done to traditions but it's time when culture should be questioned if it violates women rights as Gender inequality is a direct transgression of human rights. It is disconsolate that it has taken centuries for a community of women to fight for rudimentary right of divorce. A step forward no matter how small is an achievement but it is still a long road ahead.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Kanika Dutt
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: JL35123936902-02-0821

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