India bans “instant divorce”

WHAT IT IS

  • August 22, 2017: India’s Supreme Court banned the Muslim practice of “triple talaq”, which allowed men to terminate their marriage with three words.
  • Men would only need to repeat the Arabic word for divorce, “talaq”, three times to end a marriage with their spouse.
  • India was one of the last countries with a large Muslim population to ban instant divorce.

WHY IT MATTERS

Although predominantly Hindu country, India has the second largest Muslim population in the world. This ruling will give women more equal rights, and signals another example of cultures and religions that have historically seen women as inferior have started to become more progressive.

  • PRO TRIPLE TALAQ – “Keep tradition”

    • Religious freedom:   Some Muslim groups in India see this as another infringement upon their religious rights from the ruling Hindu nationalist party.
    • Separation of religion:   Muslim marriage laws in India have been left largely untouched and for religious authorities to decide, until this ruling.
    • Not about women:   Critics argued that this ruling is not about supporting Muslim women, but about pleasing the Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
  • ANTI TRIPLE TALAQ – “Out with the old”

    • Anti Muslim:   The Quran makes no mention of the triple talaq, and recommends that couples make a concerted effort to reconcile.
    • Sexist:   Women were not allowed to use triple talaq, so allowing only men is inherently sexist.
    • Out to dry:  Triple talaq would leave women without any alimony or financial support, so they would have no way to support themselves.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • This issue has caused a debate on the need for uniformity in civil codes within India or to maintain religious sovereignty.
  • Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, stated his support for the decision via Twitter.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Here is a video about women affected by triple talaq.
  • Do you see any similarities between this ruling and the controversies within the United States regarding religious rights?