It’s a judgement that is set to change the destiny of millions of Muslim women across India. A red letter day in the fight for gender justice in this country and a huge victory for the women who have been fighting tirelessly for equal rights.
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court today struck down the 1400 year old medieval, regressive, cruel and patriarchal practice of triple talaq.
A practice abused by many men over the years and justified by self appointed custodians of Islam, all in the name of religious freedom. But today, the Supreme Court in its 3-2 majority verdict was categorical. Triple talaq is unconstitutional and sinful violative of both the fundamental rights of women enshrined in the Constitution of India as well as at variance with the basic tenets of Islam and the Holy Quran.
The court went on to say when remedial measures have been adopted by the Muslim world, there is no reason for an Independent India to lag behind. The court has also directed the Parliament to frame a robust legislation against triple talaq.
While they may all be hailing today’s verdict, the question now is — Can we for once expect our political parties to jettison their narrow partisan often divisive political agendas rise to the occasion and come together to frame a law that ensures gender justice and equality?
Or is that too optimistic a view? After all who can forget what happened in 1985 when the Rajiv Gandhi led Congress govt used its brute majority in Parliament to overturn the Supreme Court’s Shah Bano verdict on alimony for Muslim women acting under pressure from orthodox Muslim groups many of whom are in fact unhappy even with today’s verdict.
From Shah Bano to Shayara Bano, have Indian Muslim women finally got liberation from medieval and downright draconian practices? And will our political class stand by them this time round?