Ever since instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) was termed as unconstitutional in the apex court of the country, there has been much jubilation in many quarters, including sections of Muslim women who suffered due to this practice. Indeed, men with impunity had been pronouncing divorce through post, e-mail, social networking, instant messaging etc., causing untold damage to their wives.
However, the judgement has also been met with some scepticism. Some suggest that the judiciary has played into the BJP government's vote-bank politics. Others have pointed towards the professional proximity of the advocates who argued for the petitioner Shayara Bano with people in the current central government. But, if one looks at the Supreme Court bench that deliberated over the matter, it is evident that all the judges are people of extraordinary repute and integrity, with years of hard work behind them. Therefore, casting a doubt on the verdict is tantamount to casting a doubt on the apex court and the character of those who passed the judgement.
It remains to be seen whether the legislature and the current government pays heed to the directions of the Supreme Court and makes a fool-proof law banning triple talaq permanently.
Triple talaq has been a bone of contention long before the present government came into power and I believe that the judges acted purely in public interest and for the general benefit of Muslim women in the country.
However, it remains to be seen whether the legislature and the current government pays heed to the directions of the Supreme Court and makes a fool-proof law banning triple talaq permanently. Also, on several occasions in the past, we have witnessed that in spite of judicial guidelines and proper laws being in place, implementation has faltered.
I sincerely hope and pray that the law enforcement organ of the government—i.e. the executive consisting of the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and the Council of Ministers, especially the Law Ministry—remains vigilant to make sure that the law is free of loopholes and is enforced properly.
The other aspect that is always ignored is creating and increasing public awareness about laws. In this case, Muslim women residing in the furthest reaches of the country should be made aware of their rights and of the steps they can take if the prospective law is violated. The best implementation happens through raising social awareness among those who are practically meant to be the beneficiaries of a law but who may lack access to or knowledge of the same. One-on-one education, community awareness programmes, legal awareness camps etc. can help address the issue. For this, the onus lies with all the stakeholders in the legal profession including practitioners and academia.