Criticising unilateral triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court called the practice a “monstrosity” and said that it is “the most demeaning form of divorce practised by the Muslim community”. While the court kept the question of the legality of the divorce practice open, it observed that personal laws cannot trump rights granted to individuals by the Constitution. It also said that Muslim law, as applied in India, is contrary to the spirit of the Quran.
“The question which disturbs the Court is should muslim (sic) wives suffer this tyranny for all times? Should their personal law remain so cruel towards these unfortunate wives? Whether the personal law can be amended suitably to alleviate their sufferings? The judicial conscience is disturbed at this monstrosity,” the single judge bench of Justice Suneet Kumar said while passing an order on November 5.
The court further observed that it is a “popular fallacy” that Islamic laws give men “unbridled authority” for dissolving a marriage. “The divorce is permissible in Islam only in cases of extreme emergency. When all efforts for effecting a reconciliation have failed, the parties may proceed to a dissolution of the marriage by ‘Talaq’ or by ‘Khola’,” the court said.
Expounding on the need for amending personal laws, the court said that the purpose of law in a modern secular state “is to bring about social change”. Since the Muslim community comprises a large percentage of Indian population, the court said, “leaving such a large population to the whims and fancy of personal law which perpetuate gender inequality and is regressive” is not in the interest of the society and the country.
The court, however, did not pronounce the legality of “marriage/divorce” as the Supreme Court is hearing the matter.