The Allahabad high court’s observations on triple talaq should help towards dismantling a system of patriarchal superiority that retards gender justice. Intertwined with this abhorrent practice is the larger question of personal laws of one community not having precedence over the rights granted to all under the Constitution, making it a highly sensitive issue for India’s pluralist society. The politicisation of this issue has resulted in the continuation of this practice in India, that is banned in many Muslim nations. It breaches many first principles of equality. Just saying “talaq” thrice in quick succession to end a marriage, or even texting it on social media or SMS, was never part of Islam. It was originally meant to signal an intention to divorce, with at least a year’s time for rethinking.
Triple talaq has been distorted in India, and it’s far more important to ban this than use it as a wedge to encroach on Muslim personal laws. The ability to see the issue in its two distinct parts may be there, but this tends to get muddled in the public discourse due to extreme positions taken by political and religious entities. If the law is to prevail, as it should, a much-needed social reform will be sustained, although the practice is not the norm and might even be statistically quite insignificant. Liberal Muslims will certainly back the court’s observations even if clerics defend the practice as they have to believe in their own interpretation of the Holy Quran in order to stay relevant within their community.