These victims-turned-crusaders tell why triple talaq should be banned
New Delhi, August 22: They are no celebrities, politicians or activists, but are ordinary women who have taken up an extraordinary fight to ban the practice of triple talaq and end violation of rights of Muslim women across the country.
Muslim women like Shayara Bano (36) from Kashipur, Uttarakhand, and Ishrat Jahan (30) from Howrah, West Bengal, are a few examples--who along with other individuals and organisations--have taken up the battle against triple talaq to the Supreme Court.
Tuesday holds great importance for millions of Muslim women and Indian women at large, when the apex court is going to give its verdict on the closely-observed case of triple talaq.
The verdict on the triple talaq case--by the bench comprising of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer set to be pronounced at 10.30 am--is going to make or break the lives of thousands of Muslim women who are divorced by their husbands unilaterally without ever hearing out their side of the story.
Women like Shayara and Ishrat, who are divorced by their husbands through the practice of triple talaq, strongly feel that wrongs done to Muslim women in India since ages because of the prevalence of triple talaq should end to give them their rightful place in society.
Shayara, who is battling multiple ailments because of several abortions she had to undergo, was sent a talaqnama (divorce) by post by her husband of 15 years, while she was with her parents at their home in Kashipur.
Similarly, Ishrat's husband uttered talaq three times over phone and allegedly took away her four children, leaving her at the mercy of her extended family in Howrah.
Joining the fight of Shayara, Ishrat and other women like them is the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) which has signed a letter containing a petition titled--Muslim Women's Quest for Equality.
The apex court has earlier taken a suo motu cognisance of the petition filed by the BMMA.
In fact, on Tuesday, the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will give its ruling on a clutch of petitions which have challenged the practice of triple talaq as "unlawful and unconstitutional".
Most of the petitioners are hopeful that the apex court will give a verdict in their favour. What makes the fight against triple talaq by these women unique is that most of the petitioners against the practice are poor and destitute women. Fortunately, a few of the women have the support of their paternal families or non-profit organisations. Others are fighting individual battles.
Sharaya and her family members, who are likely to attend the Supreme Court procedure on Tuesday, told The Indian Express that it was a fight for the future generations of India.
Sharaya's brother Arshad Ali said, "It is not just about my sister. It is about all my sisters across the country, it is about future generations,"
Speaking to The Indian Express, Zakia Soman of the BMMA said, "We are hopeful that the verdict will be in favour of women. Triple talaq should not have been allowed in the first place. It is high time that this huge anomaly that has gone on for seven decades be addressed. The legal process really is a small part of the much longer process of social reform but it will be a beginning. Our petition, Muslim Women's Quest for Equality, was taken suo motu cognizance by the bench of Justice (Anil R) Dave and Justice (Adarsh Kumar) Goel and now we are one of the petitioners in the case. We have also submitted our triple talaq case studies to the court."
"We have reproduced verses from the Quran about talaq, negotiations and how it should happen over a minimum period of 90 days. The second argument is about gender justice. There is no ambiguity in the Constitution of India about all citizens having equal rights," Soman added.
If the apex court decides to abolish triple talaq on Tuesday, India will join other countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Egypt--all Islamic nations, which do not recognise the husband's right to unilaterally divorce through triple talaq. Earlier, Sri Lanka, a non-Islamic country, too had banned triple talaq.