Flavia Agnes, a renowned lawyer and expert on women and child law has said that triple talaq is a tool in the hands of right wing Hindu organizations in India. She said that the issue of triple talaq has been exploited by far right elements to whip up comunal frenzy against Indian Muslims, the same way love jihad has been used against the community.
While writing in Aljazeera, Flavia Agnes says, “The triple talaq judgement pronounced by the Constitution bench of five judges of the Supreme Court of India has been hailed as “historic” by all concerned. While the operative part of the elaborate ruling comprising of three different and diverse judicial opinions captured in 395 pages is just one line: “By a majority of 3:2 verdict the practice of talaq-e-biddat – triple talaq is set aside”, it provides sufficient scope for diverse ideologies to lay a claim to it”.
She goes on to add, “It is understandable that Muslim women who have suffered the indignity of triple talaq (or instant divorce by saying the word “talaq” three times) and those who helped them to approach the court are rejoicing because the judgement is a clear victory to the position espoused by them: that the Supreme Court must declare the practice of instant and arbitrary triple talaq as invalid”.
“However, the judgement itself is not path-breaking, as there was an earlier ruling in 2002 which held that triple talaq is invalid and it has been followed by several High Courts. Since there was no media hype back then as the one we are witnessing today, the 2002 judgement was overlooked by women’s groups and individual women. But an astute lawyer could have used it to bring respite to victims of triple talaq”, writes Flavia Agnes.
The author who has said that Islamic laws regarding women are the best compared to any relgion further said, “The opposing faction, i.e. members of the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) who argued that the government should not interfere with the right of minorities to their tradition, culture, belief, and faith are also rejoicing since Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar (concurred by Justice S Abdul Nazeer) declared that personal laws are an integral part of the freedom of religion guaranteed under Articles 25-26 of the Indian Constitution, which the courts are duty-bound to protect”.
“On the other hand secular women’s groups are rejoicing on the ground that the judgement pronounced by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman (for himself and Justice Uday U Lalit) has struck down triple talaq as unconstitutional and has given a boost to the view that family laws must be state governed and gender just distanced from any religious ideology. However, the verdict of Justice Nariman is in the minority as the crisp 27-page verdict delivered by Justice Kurian Joseph dissented from it. It is his verdict that helped to clinch the issue and maintain the delicate balance between striking down triple talaq and securing freedom of religion” wrote Flavia Agnes.