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Shayara Bano vs Union of India

Shayara Bano vs Union of India

Detail of the case

Title of the case – Shayara Bano vs Union of Inda

Citation –AIR 2017 9 SCC 1 (SC)

Name of Appellant- Shayara Bano and others

Name of the respondent- Union of India, All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Rizwan Ahmed Court

The Supreme Court of India Date of judgment – 22nd August 2017

Bench – Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Uday Lalit, and Justice K.M. Joseph constituted the Bench.

Brief facts- 

Shayara Bano, a Muslim girl, was married to Rizwan Ahmed for 15 years. But in 2016, he divorced her by way of triple talaq without stating any reason. In return, she filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of talaq-e-biddat along with practices of polygamy and nikah halala as they infringe upon the fundamental rights of women (Article 14,15, 21,24). Women’s rights organizations like BEBAK collective and Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan supported her. The opposition i.e. All India Muslim Personal law argued on the fact that Muslim law is not codified and hence not subject to judicial review and that divorce is a religious practice under Article 25 of the Constitution and thus protected.

The Court accepted the petition by Shyara Bano and formed a five-judge constitutional bench in 2017. The first hearing was held on May 11, 2017, and on 22nd August of the same year, it gave its decision on the case.

The case Shayara Bano vs. Union of India () is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India regarding the constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) among Muslims in India. Here’s a detailed overview:

The case Shayara Bano vs. Union of India () is a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India regarding the constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) among Muslims in India. Here’s a detailed overview:

Background

The case was filed by a 35-year-old Muslim woman, Shayara Bano, a Balyan, UP resident, with a charge that her husband had pronounced talaq three times at one go, meaning divorce over, on the phone. She contended that this impugned practice was contrary to free she in human rights under the constitution of India, including respectively Articles 14 (Equality before Law), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds), 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty), and 25 (Freedom of Religion).

Supreme Court Judgment

In a split verdict (3:2), a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled on August 22, 2017, that it was not supremely exceptional for women in the 10-50 age group declaring triple talaq unconstitutional.

Key Points of the Judgment:

1. Majority Opinion: Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton Fali Nariman, and Uday Umesh Lalit formed the majority. They held that:

– Triple talaq is not an essential religious practice under Islam.

– It is arbitrary and violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

– Therefore, it is unconstitutional.

2. Minority Opinion: Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer dissented. They opined that:

– Triple talaq is part of Muslim personal law and thus has protection under Article 25 (Freedom of Religion).

– However, they suggested that Parliament should enact legislation to address the issue.

Aftermath:

The judgment led to the enactment of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019. This law criminalized the practice of triple talaq, making it a punishable offense with imprisonment up to three years.

Significance:

– Legal Impact: The decision was a significant step towards ensuring gender equality and protecting the rights of Muslim women.

– Social Impact: It was widely regarded as a move towards modernization and reform within the Muslim community.

– Political Impact: The case and subsequent legislation highlighted the role of judiciary and legislature in addressing issues related to personal laws in India.

The Shayara Bano case is a crucial example of the intersection of constitutional law, religious practices, and women’s rights in India.

Conclusion

In a historic decision on August 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of India ruled by a majority of 3:2 that the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) is unconstitutional. The bench, consisting of five judges from different religious backgrounds, delivered a split verdict but ultimately declared the practice illegal and void. The key points of the conclusion are as follows:

1. Unconstitutionality of Triple Talaq:

– The majority opinion held that instant triple talaq is not essential to Islamic practice and violates the fundamental rights of Muslim women as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

– Justices Rohinton Nariman, U.U. Lalit, and Kurian Joseph concluded that the practice was arbitrary and violated Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

2. Judicial Review and Personal Laws:

– The court asserted its authority to examine personal laws and practices to ensure they comply with constitutional principles, specifically concerning fundamental rights.

– This judgment affirmed that personal laws could not claim immunity from constitutional scrutiny.

3. Immediate Impact and Legislative Action:

– Following the verdict, the court urged the government to legislate on the matter to provide a comprehensive framework to deal with divorce among Muslims.

– In response, the Indian Parliament passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act in 2019, which criminalized the practice of instant triple talaq.

4. Protection of Women’s Rights:

– The judgment was hailed as a significant step forward for gender justice and the protection of women’s rights in India.

– It was seen as a milestone in the fight against discriminatory practices that have long affected Muslim women, providing them with greater legal security and equality.

In conclusion, the Shayara Bano case marked a pivotal moment in Indian jurisprudence, reinforcing the constitutional mandate of equality and justice for all citizens, irrespective of their religion. By declaring instant triple talaq unconstitutional, the Supreme Court not only upheld the rights of Muslim women but also set a precedent for scrutinizing personal laws through the lens of fundamental rights, paving the way for more progressive reforms in the future.

 

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Shreya Sharma
Shreya Sharma
As a passionate legal student , I am thrilled to embark on a promising internship in the realm of law articles. Through my writing, I am determined to unravel the intricate complexities of the legal world and make a meaningful impact. This is my opportunity to combine theory and practice, and I am ready to take on the challenge with enthusiasm and dedication.
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