Equality at last for Muslim women, rejoice! Supreme court’s triple talaq verdict historic

 James Kottor(Note: It was long duel! At least now the Supreme Court has done it, What is beautiful was the five-member bench was from five important religions of the land. The judgement endorses, what is bad in religion is also bad in law. For the last 1400 years our Muslim sisters have suffered because of this despicable practice called Triple Talaq. For that very simple reason this judgement is a red letter day for all Muslim women. It is also significant that this verdict has come in the 71st year of India’s Independence. What is important is that the Modi Government should see that this law of gender equality among Muslims is vigorously implemented for the benefit of the women folk.  james kottoor, editor).

It is indeed a historic day when the Preamble to the Constitution of India that solemnly pledges ‘justice’ to all and assures dignity to the individual has been upheld.

The five-member Supreme Court bench, comprising judges from five important faiths (we wish there was a woman judge too)—has struck down, in a majority verdict, the practice of instant triple talaq. It was a retrogressive, patriarchal form of divorce through pronouncement of the word talaq three times. That’s all, without requiring the concurrence of, or even prior intimation to, the woman being divorced.

It’s not a moment of celebration just for Shayara Bano of Haldwani, the main petitioner against this archaic practice, but also for the millions of Muslim women who have suffered due to this warped custom. While the court should be rightly feted for this landmark judgment, credit goes to Muslim women organisations who have struggled for its abolition for two decades, and other women’s bodies who supported them to create a public opinion.

The verdict is unequivocal—instant triple talaq is unconstitutional, illegal and has no endorsement in the Quran. It has thereby insulated the Muslim women from the pure play of male discretion, though how it plays out on the ground has to be seen. The retrospective aspect of this verdict will have to be worked out; one hopes Parliament will pool its resources to pass a legislation talking to stakeholders and say how best to restore equal rights to Muslim women.

With this, the courts have settled that if personal law is in conflict with the rights of women, the latter will prevail. Since this means that as far as divorce goes, the women of the land have uniform law, it’s time the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind read the writing on the wall. Their relevance will remain if they can seize the mood of the moment and help in implementing the verdict.

The AIMPLB must accept the verdict gracefully. The political parties too must welcome this as a much-needed course correction—to ensure Shayara Bano is not let down the way Shah Bano was. 

Joseph MDear JK,

The Supreme Court verdict on talaq certainly is a blessing for the entire Muslim women folk, who have been living under fear of being divorced anytime. There could not be a husband who would not have disagreed with his spouse at least once. Many stories of irrelevant small disagreements ending up in big fights and further in talaq were shared in public. This practice of smart divorce made the Muslim women life pitiful – no doubt! It should be noted that the Supreme Court was focusing on the Scriptural Interpretations rather than the social relevance or injustice it contains.

I’m of the opinion that women in other Semitic religions also suffer heavily. Remember that until recently, women in Christian families were not entitled for equal parental share. Even now, they haven’t grown to the level of realizing their eligibility for the same. The people at the helm of each religion should be held responsible for social injustice served to the faithful – in part or full. Their teachings are responsible for leading to all similar injustices. In Christianity, the faithful are allowed to think of Scriptural commands only through the ever-vibrating lens of Church rules. In the Fr. Robin rape case, I regretfully remember a ‘Shalom' editorial mentioning that the raped minor girl was more answerable in the Day of Judgment, for she should have realized that it was an anointed that she tempted to sin. This historic blunder was withdrawn the next day, but not all! I can trace many occasions in which the Church had to revisit its own foolish decisions. The faithful are trimmed to believe that all luxuries, the Church displays are necessities for its existence. The faithful are also made to believe that Church accounts are Holy and cannot be discussed in public. They believe that the proposed Church Act is a devil’s play.

Freedom that truth offers, that is what all believers in every religion are to yearn for. Need we wait for a full time Supreme Court ‘Religious Bench’ in India?

Joseph Mattappally (Asso. Editor – CCV)



You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. almayasabdam says:

    Varghese Pamplanil writes: Auricular confession and the fundamental right to privacy. 

    Not a word has appeared in CCV about the impact of the epoch making unanimous judgement of the nine Judges Constitution bench of the Hon. Supreme Court of India on the various facets of the fundamental right of privacy of the individual citizen of India. The said judgement in my view, have impingement on the religious life of the Roman Catholics faithful of India.

    The Hon. Supreme Court of India, which has held that privacy is a natural, upheld the inalienable and intrinsic right that infers in human beings because they are human. “Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity. Privacy ensures he fulfilment of dignity. “It includes the preservation of personal intimacies, sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation. Privacy connotes a right to be left alone. It safeguards individual autonomy and recognise one’s ability to control vital aspects of his/her life.

    In this context it may be appropriate to revisit the revolting, pernicious and demeaning Roman Catholic Church mandated “auricular confession” to the parish priest, to be made at least once a year by each and every member of the Catholic Church.

    Confession was first introduced into the Church, on a voluntary basis, in the fifth century by the authority of Leo the Great. But it was not until the Fourth Lateral Council in 1215 convened by Innocent III that auricular secret confession into the ears of the priest was made mandatory. This step could have taken to make the notorious and bloody Inquisition more deadly.

    In the 16th century CE in the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church under the pain of ANATHEMA, made the “infallible declaration “that confession dates back to the time of Christ and the apostles; that it is instituted by divine law; that it is necessary for salvation; that the secret auricular confession should be made into the ears of a Catholic priest who alone is divinely authorised to give absolution; that those who did not obey this command be pronounced guilty of mortal sin and be damned for eternity to hell; that he who did not confess during the Lent, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.

    Trent also declared that if any one says that the confession of all sins, as it is observed in the Church, is impossible and is a human tradition to be abolished by pious people; and that each and all of the faithful of Christ of either sex are not bound thereto, in accordance with the great Lateran Council and for this reason the faithful of Christ are to be persuaded not to confess during Lent, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.

    According to the catechism of the Catholic Church, auricular confession is an essential component of the spiritual life of a Catholic, which can be facilitated exclusively through Catholic priest alone who has been delegated with the faculty of absolving SINS in the name of Christ by the competent authority of the said church.

    Auricular confession by the faithful is a vital doctrine Roman Catholic Church which in effect means that Roman Catholics need the priesthood for their salvation. In this process the priests generate great power via the doctrine of auricular confession.

    It is impossible to find any authorisation or general practice of it during the first 1000 years of Christianity. Not a word is found in the writings of Church fathers such as Augustine, Origen, Tertullian, Jerome, Chrysostem  Athanasius and some others. They all, elevated to the status of saints by Church, lived and died without even thinking of going for confession. None other than God was thought to be worthy to hear confession or to grant forgiveness.

    The Roman Church defends the doctrine of auricular confession by manipulating the sayings in James 5:16 which reads “Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent of a righteous man availeth much. The word “sins” (‘taxamaritas’) was substituted for the word “faults” is brazenly substituted in the Roman Catholic New Jerusalem Bible without any manuscript authority. 

    The blatant denial of the inalienable right to privacy and integrity of an individual that persists by the Catholic Church is travesty. George Orwell’s chilling scenario of the “Big Brother” watching every thing a person does especially his/her sexual doings is the grim reality in the Catholic Church; this activity is monitored diligently, through “ the one to one auricular confession” to a Catholic priest. My experience while I was a practicing Catholic and my interaction with fellow Catholics validates this observation. The mental strain in disembowelling oneself to a total stranger is scary to say the least.  The aim of the Church seems to keep the faithful in the limbo of SIN perpetually so that he or she can be manipulated by the clergy to achieve their often nefarious ends. The clergy arrogate themselves as Almighty God, on the basis of its absurd and spurious claim of divine delegation. Who are they to decide what   SIN is, as well as the power to absolve the so called SINS, an amorphous concept as slippery as jelly and more elastic than rubber or equivalent  material. The clergy does not spare even children of eight to ten years  of age from the odious auricular confession so as to  inject them with the deadly poison of SIN. The “ cattle class” has been conditioned to be whipped around.

    I have been watching the efforts of the reformists of the Zero Church, to quote Dr. Kottoor. Their energies seem to be wasted on dealing with shallow peripherals, may be on account of bitter experiences while dealing with the uppity “ anointed”. The bull ought to be taken by the horns, needling its tail is of no avail; the end result of which could be its kicks with the hind leg. Why not bring the naked aggression on the right of privacy in the Catholic Church  in the form of compulsory auricular confession to the appropriate forum. It does’t matter to people who avoids the Church like plague. But think of the plight of “cattle class“ especially the “cows” who is still enmeshed in the intricate web of the so called sacraments which they foolishly think as the route to salvation.  So long as the “cattle” is served with their daily quota of opium of rituals, they can be kept in a state of euphorbia.  But Is it not the right time to fight for the  protection of the intrinsic inalienable right to privacy conferred on  each and every citizen of India, including a Roman Catholic,  by  the Indian Constitution?   

    CCV, of late, seems to be more interested in the peeling of onions and advocating the benefits of eating figs. Why not for a change, recommend the consuming of prunes to get rid of constipation?

    One need not gloat and go ga ga over the discomfiture of the Muslim clerics because of the dumping of triple talaq in to the dust bin by the Supreme Court. Why ignore the mot in one’s eyes ignoring the beams in the eyes of the “ cattle “Catholic and assuming ‘ holier than thou” attitude.

  2. Isaac Gomes says:

    Supreme Court has banned INSTANT TRIPLE TALAQ, not triple talaq.

    In the light of the "landmark" Supreme Court verdict banning triple talaq, what must be remembered is that it's only the instant version of the Islamic practice that has been declared unconstitutional.

    Instant triple talaq (or talaq-e-biddat) happens when the husband spells out the word 'talaq' (divorce) three times in one instance – either in a single sitting, or through phone, email, or text messages.

    Many Islamic clerics and jurists have declared such form of divorce immediate and irrevocable.

    Even if the husband wants to reconcile and go back to his wife, the way out is Nikah Halala (Refer India Today sensational report published in CCV only the other day), which means the woman should remarry and consummate the second marriage, get divorced, follow the three-month 'iddat' period and return to her first husband.

    Instant triple talaq has been looked down upon even by the Quran and Hadith (the sayings of Prophet Muhammad), and is banned in most Muslim-majority countries.


    On the other hand, the more accepted form of divorce is how the religion has mandated it: the triple talaq (or talaq-ul sunnat). Under this form of triple talaq, the husband says the first 'talaq' and can only say the second time in the next lunar cycle. The wife, meanwhile, has to prepare herself for the three-month 'iddat' period, covering three mestrual cycles. In this duration, the husband can rethink over his decision and re-conciliate with the wife. When the period of iddat expires and the husband does not revoke the talaq either expressly or by consummation, the divorce is considered irrevocable and final.


    No, the women have the option of asking for 'khula' in case the marriage breaks down. A woman can divorce her husband by returning the dower (mehr) that she received from her husband.

    It should be noted that unlike the dominant definition in Hinduism and in Christianity, Islam looks at marriage not as a sacrament which is eternal, but as a civil contract, which is accepted between the two parties on the basis of mutual consent.


  3. Isaac Gomes says:

    Religion is personal and should not trespass upon public life and civil liberties like right of a child, right to education, marriage, divorce, maintenance and inheritance.  All these should come under Uniform Civil Law or Uniform Civil Code.  In all civilised nations this is the practice where law is the same for all citizens irrespective of religion, race, colour and creed. In Indian courts, even in the recent Triple Talaq case, religion and personal law were given precedence. 

    What should be given overriding importance is Article 14 of our Constitution. which is Equality before law. The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

    Only in India, Personal Laws like Muslim Personal Law which was created by the British to suit their aim to divide and  rule, prevail.  Supreme Court of India surprisingly hesitated on passing a unanimous judgement banning triple talaq. Now it has passed the buck on the government to pass law. In the process, we will again see vote bank politics among the MPs. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *