India is on the verge of a defining moment in its Legal history today. The Supreme Court announces it’s verdict on whether the practice of Triple Talaq, the practice where Muslim women may be divorced by their husbands by just uttering the word ‘Talaq’ thrice in a row, is constitutionally valid or not.
There’s been a debate simmering for years on this topic, and on the unification of Personal Laws in the country under a Uniform Civil Code, envisioned in Article 44 of the Directive Principles, Constitution of India. But each time our Legislators and Judiciary have failed to deliver. That’s no surprise, because these two institutions have traditionally been rather slow in changing personal laws in the country. For example, the Hindu Succession Laws on women not being able to inherit Mitakshara coparcenary property (ancestral property, in layman terms), was changed only in the year 2005, nearly 60 years after our Independence, and almost 50 years after the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was enacted! Vote bank politics, you see, matters far more than the rights of one entire demographic of the country.
Of course, the blame doesn’t entirely lie on the law makers and the judiciary of the country, but with it’s people’s divided opinions on what is considered ‘cultural values’ and what is ‘a clear violation of human rights’.
I hope that this time, inspite of the religious and political drama behind this debate, the practice is put to an end finally, or at the very least, is removed from the protection afforded to it thus far under Article 25 of the Constitution (right to freedom of religion). How a unilateral decision that ends a marriage between two people is considered ‘socially and culturally acceptable‘, is beyond me. But then what do I know, I’m just a woman.
Keeping my fingers crossed!
Copyright ©2017 Pradita Kapahi.
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