The Supreme Court on Thursday began to hear a batch of petitions against the Islamic practice of triple talaq. The vacation bench will determine how and when Muslim personal laws violate the fundamental rights of a citizen guaranteed in the Constitution and what action can be taken in such cases.

The Constitution bench that is hearing the pleas comprises five judges who belong to five different religious groups. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi will also help the Supreme Court bench decide on the matter.

The top court has been hearing a number of petitions filed by Muslim women demanding a ban on the patriarchal practice, which they say violates their rights. They have also challenged the practice of nikah halala and polygamy in the top court.

NGO All India Muslim Personal Law Board has been firm on its stand that the judiciary cannot interfere in personal laws, claiming that it would go against their Constitutional right to freedom of religion. The Centre, however, has spoken up against triple talaq a number of times during Supreme Court hearings, maintaining that gender equality was non-negotiable and that personal laws could not deny Muslim women their rights.

Here is a round-up of pieces published on on triple talaq:

  • If Pakistan and 21 other countries have abolished triple talaq, why can’t India?: A large section of Muslim women has been demanding an end to triple talaq. It is time the AIMPLB gave up its opposition to this.
  • Meet the ordinary Muslim women fighting an extraordinary case against triple talaq in India: Shayara Bano, Afreen Rahman and the women of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan are at the forefront of a social reform movement in the Muslim community. 
  • Understanding triple talaq (and domestic violence) through the stories of three Muslim women: Can the practice of unilateral divorce among some Muslims be confronted without looking at societal norms that make women stay in abusive marriages?
  • Muslim law board’s plea for constitutional protection for triple talaq is on shaky ground: Court verdicts and debates point to the fact that personal laws do not come under the ambit of the Constitution’s religious freedom clauses.
  • Why it’s no conspiracy if courts intervene in Muslim personal law: The Constitution protects citizens’ rights to religion, but also empowers courts to ascertain if any religious practice is repugnant to constitutional ideals.
  • Silent reform in courtrooms isn’t enough to end the patriarchal stranglehold on Islam: A response to lawyer Flavia Agnes’ criticism of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan’s campaign to end triple talaq.