A five-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar on August 22 have pronounce its judgement on the legality of the Islamic personal law practice of talaq-e-bidat and nikah-halala (forms of divorce) in Islam and whether it violates the fundamental and human rights of gender equality and dignity of Muslim women.
Triple Talaq was pulled to the Supreme Court by Muslim women who were unlikely candidate to have challenged the religious practice. No one had ever thought women from middle-class families staying in small towns would stand up against the Islamic Law to demand scrapping of the Islamic Law which pronounced divorced in one sitting (triple talaq).
Here are the women who stood against the Islamic law to fight for rights
The 37-year-old MA in Sociology dared to challenge the Islamic Law after her husband duped her into accepting a post which finally led her divorce and finally getting Rs 16000 as Mehr.
The woman from Uttrakhand’s Kashipur knocked the Supreme Court taking her triple talaq case and cited it as an ‘unfair practise’ she demanded abolishment of the law from India.
Bano has alleged that she had gone acute distress during the last 15-years of marriage and was mentally tortured for dowry. She never protested as she wanted to save her marriage.
In the course of the fight to challenge the thousand year old Islamic Law, she and her family had to face tough times from the Muslim community and very few stood in their support.
According to family members, The Muslim Law Board filed petition against them saying that they were going against the rules of Islam.
In spite of facing challenges from the Muslim community Bano took a stand to fight against the Islamic Law.
The founder of Bebaak Collective — an umbrella of Muslim women’s groups — who firmly agrees that certain aspects of Muslim Personal Law are discriminatory.
She has challenged the AIMPLB affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, in which it is emphasized on acknowledgement of women’s rights which are otherwise controlled in the name of religion, purity or chastity or even in the garb of ‘protecting’ women.
Khan had been in close association with AIMPLB for last decade trying to make them understand the need for quality of personal rights between Muslim men and women.
She says the AIMPLB is completely male dominated. She says she is fighting for women’s rights from a feminist perspective and their position on triple talaq is not dependent on whether religious scriptures validate it or not.
Shah Bano Begum, Indore
Begum was married to Mohammed Ahmad Khan, a well known advocate of Indore and had five children from the marriage. After living for 14 years together her husband married a younger woman and divorced her in November 1978.
Begum filed a case under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure asking Rs500 as maintenance from her husband for herself and five children after monthly compensation of Rs 200 was stopped. A local court hearing the petition directed Khan to pay a sum of ₹25 per month to Bano by way of maintenance.
In 1980, her former husband filed a petition to appeal before the Supreme Court claiming that Shah Bano is not his responsibility anymore because Khan has a second marriage which is also [permitted under Islamic Law.She was later denied alimony when the Indian Parliament reversed the judgement under pressure from Islamic orthodoxy.
Her case triggered controversy for having different civil codes for different religions especially Muslims in India and forced Congress government to pass Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act,1986.
In later judgements the Supreme Court interpreted the act in manner reassuring the validity of the case and upheld Bano’s judgement and nullifying The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Divorce) Act 1986. Muslims including All India Shia Personal Law Board supported the Supreme Court's order.