New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the practice of instant triple talaq saying it was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The bench comprising of five judges, headed by Chief Justice J. S. Khehar, had reserved its verdict on 18 May, six days after the hearing began on 11 May.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was restricted to the constitutional validity of triple talaq and it did not go into other issues of polygamy and nikah halala under the Muslim personal law.
Here is a timeline of events which set off the apex court hearings:
■ 18 May: SC reserves verdict on batch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq among Muslims.
■ 17 May: SC asks the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) whether a woman can be given an option of saying “no" to triple talaq at the time of the execution of the nikahnama (Islamic marriage contract). A five-judge Constitution bench headed by chief justice J.S. Khehar also said all qazis can be asked to include this condition at the time of marriage.
■ 16 May: All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) says triple talaq is a 1,400-year-old practice, and constitutional morality and equity cannot arise when a matter of faith is concerned.
■ 15 May: Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi tells SC that the Centre will bring in a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if the practice of triple talaq is declared unconstitutional. He also asked the court to examine other aspects of Muslim personal law, including nikah halala and polygamy.
■ 12 May: SC says the practice of triple talaq was the “worst" and “not desirable" form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims, even though there were schools of thought which termed it as “legal".
■ 11 May: SC says it would determine if the Muslim practice of triple talaq is in line with the Constitution and fundamental to Islam. “We will only look at triple talaq and whether it is constitutional and not go into issues such as polygamy," a five-judge Constitution bench said.
■ 30 March: SC says these issues are “very important" and involve “sentiments", says a Constitution bench would start hearing from 11 May.
■ 3 May: SC allows Salman Khurshid as amicus curiae in hearing of pleas challenging constitutional validity of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.
■ 29 April: The opposition charges Prime Minister Narendra Modi with politicising the triple talaq issue for electoral mileage even as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Swami Prasad Maurya said Muslim men use it to change wives and satisfy their “lust".
■ 21 April: Delhi high court dismisses plea seeking to stop the practice of triple talaq on Hindu women married to Muslim men.
■ 18 April: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi says practice of triple talaq should not be allowed as women have as much right as men and cannot be kept on a lower pedestal.
■ 17 April: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath says the politicians maintaining silence on the issue of triple talaq were equally responsible as those practising it. The CM linked the Muslim practice of divorce to the disrobing of Draupadi in the Mahabharata.
■ 16 April: Raising the triple talaq issue, PM Narendra Modi says justice should be done to Muslim women.
AIMPLB says the board has decided to issue a code of conduct and warns that those who give talaq (divorce) without Sharia (Islamic law) reasons will face social boycott.
■ 14 April: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati says SC should decide the issue of triple talaq as per the Constitution to ensure justice for Muslim women.
■ 11 April: Centre tells SC that the practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy impact the social status and dignity of Muslim women and deny them fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
■ 27 March: AIMPLB tells SC that these pleas were not maintainable as the issues fall outside the judiciary’s realm.
■ 16 February: SC says a five-judge constitution bench would be set up to hear and decide the challenge on triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.
■ 14 February: SC allows various interlocutory pleas to be tagged along with the main matter.
■ 9 December: The Allahabad high court, in a verdict, stops short of calling the practice of triple talaq under Muslim law unconstitutional, but observes that personal laws could not override constitutionally guaranteed rights of individuals.
■ 7 October: For the first time in India’s constitutional history, Centre opposes in SC these practices and favours a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism.
■ 29 June: SC says triple talaq among Muslims will be tested on “touchstone of constitutional framework".
■ 28 March: SC asks Centre to file a copy of the report of a high-level panel on “Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and succession".
SC also impleads various organisations, including the AIMPLB, as parties in the suo motu matter.
■ 5 February: SC asks Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to assist it on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy.
■ 16 October: SC bench asks the Chief Justice of India to set up an appropriate bench to examine if Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce, while dealing with a case of Hindu succession.