India’s top court rules “triple talaq” divorce unconstitutional

India’s top court has ruled the practice of instant divorce in Islam – or triple talaq – unconstitutional.

In a 3-2 majority verdict, the court called the practice “un-Islamic”.

India is one of a handful of countries where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in minutes by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.

The landmark court decision came in response to petitions challenging the so-called “triple talaq” custom.

The cases were filed by five Muslim women who had been divorced in this way and two rights groups.

There have been cases in which Muslim men in India have divorced their wives by issuing the so-called triple talaq by letter, telephone and, increasingly, by text message, WhatsApp and Skype.

Campaigners say over the years thousands of women, especially those from poor families, have been discarded by their husbands in this manner. Many have been rendered destitute, with nowhere to go, or have been forced to return to their parental homes or fend for themselves.

Triple talaq divorce has no mention in Islamic law or the Quran. Islamic scholars say that Islam clearly spells out how to issue a divorce – it has to be spread over three months, allowing a couple time for reflection and reconciliation.

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