A five-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar on August 22 will 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.
The bench to give its verdicts includes a Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and a Parsi.
Here is a timeline of events
October 16: Supreme Court bench asks Chief Justice of India (CJI) to set up a bench to examine if Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce while dealing with a case of Hindu succession.
February 5: Supreme Court asks Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to assist it on the pleas challenging constitutional validity of polygamy, ‘triple talaq’ and nikah halala.
March 28: The Supreme Court asks Central government to file a copy of the report of a high-level panel on ‘Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance’.
Supre Court also prosecutes various organisations, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board as parties in the suo motu matter.
June 29: Supreme Court says triple talaq among the Muslims will be tested according to “touchstone of constitutional framework”.
October 7: The Central government for the first time in Indian History opposes in Supreme Court the practices and favours a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism.
December 9: The Allahabad high court, in a verdict, stopped short of calling the practice of triple talaq under Muslim law unconstitutional and also observed that personal laws could not override constitutionally guaranteed rights of individuals.
February 16: Supreme Court says a five-judge constitution bench would be set up to hear and decide the challenge on ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy.
March 27: All India Muslim Personal Law Board tells the Supreme Court that these pleas were not maintainable as the issues fall outside judiciary’s realm.
March 30: Supreme Court says these issues are very important and involve sentiments.
April 11: The Central Government told the Supreme Court that the practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy impact the social status and dignity of Muslim women and they are denied with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
April 16: Raising the ‘triple talaq’ issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said justice should be done to all Muslim women.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board said that the board has decided to issue a code of conduct and warned that those who give divorce without Sharia (Islamic law) reasons will have to face social boycott.
April 18: Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said practice of triple talaq should not be allowed as women have as much right as men.
April 21: The Delhi high court dismissed a plea seeking to stop the practice of triple talaq on Hindu women married to Muslim men.
April 29: The opposition charged PM Narendra Modi for politicising the triple talaq issue for electoral mileage. BJP minister Swami Prasad Maurya said Muslim men use it to change wives to satisfy ‘lust’.
May 3: Supreme Court allows Salman Khurshid as amicus curiae in hearing of pleas challenging constitutional validity of triple talaq.
May 11: Supreme Court says it would determine if the Muslim practice of triple talaq is in line with the Constitution and fundamental to Islam.
May 12: Supreme Court says the practice of triple talaq was the “worst” and “not desirable” form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims.
May 15: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that the Central Government will bring in a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if the practice of triple talaq is declared unconstitutional.
May 16: All India Muslim Personal Law Board informs the Supreme Court that triple talaq is a 1,400-year-old practice. The board added that the constitutional morality and equity cannot arise when a matter of faith is concerned.
Rohtagi also asked the Supreme Court to examine other aspects of Muslim personal laws which included polygamy and nikah halala.
May 17: Supreme Court asks All India Muslim Personal Law Board if a woman can be given an option of saying ‘no’ to triple talaq at the time of execution of nikahnama — Islamic marriage contract.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar also said if all Qazis can be asked to include this condition at the time of nikahnama.
May 18: Supreme Court reserves its verdict on batch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of triple talaq.