Culture & Lifestyle / India’s Supreme Court Abolishes Practice Of ‘Instant Divorce’

India’s Supreme Court Abolishes Practice Of ‘Instant Divorce’

Culture & Lifestyle Aug 23, 2017

A major victory for women’s rights activists, as India’s top court strikes down practice of “instant divorce”.

The court’s decision comes in response to petitions that challenged the custom where a Muslim man in India can instantly divorce his wife by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.

In some cases even letters, phonecalls, text messages, WhatsApp and Skype have been used for “instant divorce”.

Judges who ruled the verdict were from India‘s five major faiths, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.

They said the practice was “manifestly arbitrary” to allow a man to “break down (a) marriage whimsically and capriciously. What is sinful under religion cannot be valid under law.”

“Today’s judgment on one level is very historic,” said Hasina Khan, from the Bebaak Collective, an organization that campaigns against the practice. “It is not a victory that has been achieved after one or two years — Muslim women have been coming to courts and filing petitions and laying the groundwork for this for years.”

Supporters of the “instant divorce” practice argued that it is an integral part of Islam, and the ban could affect some Muslims’ fundamental rights to practice their religion.

Kamal Faruqui, a member of the executive committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which advocates for Muslim law, said: “We don’t see this as a favorable verdict. Triple talaq is a part of our religion and of sharia.”

All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board members celebrate the verdict, Photo Credit:

Shayara Bano, one of five women who turned to India’s highest court for help, was divorced from her husband through the use of instance divorce in 2015.

“I appeal to the people to not politicize this issue and accept Supreme Court’s verdict on triple talaq,” she said. “I have felt the pain when family breaks. I hope no one has to go through this situation in future.”

After a few months or years of marriage, the women were left to fend for themselves while the husbands had no legal obligation to them or their children.

A sand artist makes a sculpture to commemorate the historic judgement, Photo Credit:

There is no mention of the practice in the Quran; the Islamic holy book says divorce should happen over a period of three months, to allow both husband and wife to think it over.

India now joins the list of many Muslim countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia to abolish the practice.

Main Image Photo Credit:

Nomaan Khan

Nomaan Khan


After spending some time in a completely different field, Nomaan decided to drop it all and switch to Mohawk College to pursue his longtime interest in the world of Journalism. His experience working in multimedia platforms has helped him develop exceptional skills in thinking on his feet, being ...


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