LONG AWAITED JUDGMENT!

Finally the Supreme Court is all set to pronounce a historic judgment on the controversial issue of ‘Triple Talaq’ deciding whether this practice among Muslims is fundamental to the religion or not. While the Triple Talaq is one amongst the multiple issues confronted by the Muslim women in India that deprive them of the fundamental rights available to women belonging to other communities, yet the Supreme Court pronouncement shall be the turning point in the history of India as it is expected to be another step towards achieving the constitutional commitment under Article 44 of the Constitution for a Uniform Civil Code to all the Indian citizens. It is pertinent to mention here that a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing during the summer vacation clarifying that it may not deliberate upon the issue of polygamy but would only examine whether triple talaq was part of an enforceable fundamental right to practice religion by the Muslims or not. In order to ensure fairness in administration of justice the bench comprising of judges from different religious communities had heard seven pleas, including five separate petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the prevalent practice of triple talaq in the community. It is a fact that even to a common man it, at the very instance, seems that pronouncing talaq thrice in one go, sometimes even by phone or a text message, to get a divorce is the worst and un desirable form of dissolution of marriage among Muslims, despite some schools of thought calling it legal. Undoubtedly this practice is abhorrent as it is a blatant discrimination on the ground of sex and no amount of advocacy can save this practice from being declared as contradictory to constitutional tenets. The Union Government has long before made its intentions clear by stating before the bench that it will come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq is held invalid and unconstitutional by the apex court. It needs to be realized that all personal laws must be in conformity with the Constitution and rights of marriage, divorce, property, succession, adoption or guardianship need to be treated in the same class and have to be in conformity with the Constitution. The final part of the long path today needs to be tread with utmost caution as it carries with it the risk of unrest and disharmony in view of certain elements in the political and religious arena that are ever-ready to grab every opportunity to satiate their vested interests. It is hoped that soon after today’s verdict most of the discriminatory laws including polygamy will be shown the door besides scrapping of certain laws found to be majority centric. The process that started in 1956 and remained incomplete due to non-applicability of forward-looking laws to family matters though seems to have finally entered the significant stage yet it is sure to take some more time to finally bid farewell to all the discriminatory laws affecting women.