Wednesday 29th of May 2024

India Muslim women in limbo after instant divorce ruling

Daily Bangladesh Tribune »

In 2017, India’s Supreme Court outlawed the Islamic practice of “triple talaq” which allowed a Muslim man to divorce his wife in minutes just by saying “talaq” (divorce) three times. While the court’s decision was celebrated by women’s rights activists at the time, five years on, many Muslim women say that the ruling has left them in a limbo.

Afreen Rehman was elated by the Supreme Court judgement as it made the unilateral, instantaneous divorce given by her husband a few months earlier legally invalid.

But contrary to expectations, things didn’t change much for her because her husband declined to take her back.

Five years later, Ms Rehman, one of the five women petitioners in the case, is unsure if she is still married or a divorcee.

This is also the story of three other women petitioners in the case. They are still “divorced” as they haven’t been taken back by their husbands yet.

Zakia Soman, co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a rights group that was also one of the petitioners in the case, says that the August 2017 judgment, and the subsequent law in 2019 that criminalised the practice, has had mixed outcomes for Muslim women.

“Their husbands are happily remarried and have children, whereas these women continue [to live]alone,” Ms Soman says.

Before the Supreme Court ruling, India was among a handful of countries that allowed triple talaq. The campaign by Muslim women and activists for outlawing the practice was championed by India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Subsequently, the lead petitioner in the case, Shayara Bano, was made the vice-chairperson of a women’s rights group in the northern state of Uttarakhand, which is governed by the BJP. Ishrat Jahan, another of the petitioners, has also joined the BJP.

Write Your Comment Here

Comments are closed.