The Supreme Court on Monday admitted a petition filed by a woman to declare the practice of triple talaq, nikah halala (bar against remarriage with divorced husband without an intervening marriage with another man) and polygamy under Muslim personal laws as illegal, unconstitutional, and violative of the rights to equality, dignity, life and freedom of religion under the Constitution. A Bench of Justices Anil R. Dave and A.K. Goel issued notice to the Centre on the petition filed by Shayara Bano, who introduced herself in the petition as a “Muslim citizen whose husband has attempted to illegally divorce her after frequently subjecting her to cruelty during the currency of their marriage”.
Ms. Bano, through senior advocate Amit Singh Chadha and advocate Balaji Srinivasan, said she only wished to “secure a life of dignity, unmarred by discrimination on the basis of gender or religion. Referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to register a PIL suo motu titled ‘Muslim women’s quest for equality’ on gender discrimination women face under Muslim personal law in a judgment on Oct. 16 last year, the petition contended that the law has to change with time. Ms. Bano’s petition is posted for hearing on March 28 and tagged with the Court’s suo motu PIL on the same issue.
“Practice of polygamy is not an integral part of Islam, and polygamy has been recognised as injurious to public morals. The practices under challenge, which practically treat women like chattel belonging to men, are neither harmonious with the modern principles of human rights and gender equality nor an integral part of Islamic faith,” the petition said.
Ms. Bano said many Islamic nations, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iraq, have banned or restricted such practices, while they continue to vex not only Indian Muslim women but also the society at large, notwithstanding that the Muslim community of India has itself been clamouring for reform and ban of oppressive practices that have no basis in Islam or the Holy Quran.
to public morals, says the petition