India’s Supreme Court suspends controversial Muslim divorce law

India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the use of a Muslim divorce law until the government frames new legislation, a partial victory for Muslim women who had long argued that the law violated their right to equality.

“This is a sensitive case where sentiments are involved. We are directing the Union of India to consider appropriate legislation in this regard,” Justice J.S. Khehar said while announcing a six-month suspension on the practice of the divorce law.

The law allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times.

Muslim women say they have been left destitute by husbands divorcing them through “triple talaq”, including by Skype and WhatsApp.

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andola, a Muslim organisation, launched a campaign two years ago to ban triple talaq.

A recent survey released by the BMMA found that 92 percent of the 4,710 Muslim women surveyed wanted a total ban on verbal or unilateral divorce.

Triple talaq has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a number of cases, including in February 2015.

Muslims in India, who make up the largest religious minority in the country, are governed by the Muslim Personal Law.

The legislation is not codified, which means it is open to interpretation by local clergy.

As a result, BMMA noted that Muslim women are “excluded educationally, economically and socially owing to government neglect and suffer from near absence of any legal framework in matters of family and marriage.” (Courtesy Al Jazeera)


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