The Constitution, through Article 21 and its interpretation by the SC, guaranteed every citizen a right to life with dignity. Could a woman, divorced through arbitrary and unilateral triple talaq, be thrown out and lose her rights on a matrimonial home?”
NEW DELHI: A Muslim woman asked SC “Can an arbitrary and unilateral divorce through triple talaq deprive the wife of her rights in the matrimonial home and custody of her children” on Tuesday.
The court agreed to hear on Friday the writ petition filed by Ishrat Jahan from Howrah through advocate VK Biju, who mentioned it before a bench of Justices AR Dave and L Nageswara Rao.
After the court suo motu started examining the effect of triple talaq on Muslim women's rights, triple talaq victims Shayara Banu and another woman, besides Muslim women organizations, questioned the validity of the personal law practice. Significantly, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) defended triple talaq and said the court had no jurisdiction to decide its validity.
In her petition, Ishrat Jahan sought a declaration from the court that Section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 was unconstitutional as it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (nondiscrimination), 21 (life) and 25 (religion) of the Constitution "in so far as it seeks to recognise and validate talaq-e-bidat (triple talaq) as a valid form of divorce". This is the question also raised by Uttarakhand based Shayara Banu and another Muslim woman, and Rashtrawadi Muslim Mahila Sangh through its president Farah Faiz.
“The Constitution, through Article 21 and its interpretation by the SC, guaranteed every citizen a right to life with dignity. Could a woman, divorced through arbitrary and unilateral triple talaq, be thrown out and lose her rights on a matrimonial home?” Jahan asked adding some critical questions She said she continued to live in her matrimonial home with grave risk to her life despite her husband divorcing her through triple talaq.
"My husband and his relatives are constantly attempting to drive me out of my matrimonial home," she said. She said her four children, aged between seven and 12 years, were forcibly taken away and she did not know their whereabouts. "The petitioner does not have any support as her parents are residing in Bihar. She is surviving with her sister's help. The police are also not making any effort to trace her children," the petition said while seeking urgent directions from the SC for her protection and that of her children.
On July 29, the SC had favoured a wider debate on the petitions challenging the validity of triple talaq. All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat-e-Ulema had defended triple talaq and said it was part of Quran-dictated personal law which was beyond the ambit of judicial scrutiny. Faiz had said, "...Shariat courts and qazis do not allow women to enforce their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Defiance invites ostrasisation and severe hardship on women."