Instant triple talaq is unconstitutional, here are the women who decided to fight the practice

Meet the women who petitioned the Supreme Court challenging instant triple talaq.
Instant triple talaq is unconstitutional, here are the women who decided to fight the practice
Instant triple talaq is unconstitutional, here are the women who decided to fight the practice
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It was sometime in April 2015 that Ishrat Jahan, a woman from Howrah in West Bengal, received a call from her husband who was in Dubai at the time. The couple had been married for 15 years then.

Murtaza, her spouse, uttered the words talaq thrice, and then disconnected the call.

He also took their four children with him, and allegedly remarried a week after arbitrarily divorcing her.

Ishrat approached the court a year later, confident and convinced to fight for her rights.

"I don't accept the talaq by phone. I want justice. I want my three daughters and one son back from my husband who snatched them away and I want maintenance for their upbringing. That's why I have gone to court. I will fight to the finish," she would later tell NDTV.

Ishrat is among the five women who petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the practice of instant triple talaq stating that not only was it discriminatory, but also violated their fundamental rights.

Shayara Bano was the first petitioner in the case, following which the apex court passed the historic verdict on Monday, declaring the practice of instant triple talaq unconstitutional.

The woman from Uttarakhand received a talaqnama from her husband through a telegram in 2015, after 15 years of marriage.

Over the last few years, there also seems to have been an increase in the number of cases of triple talaq being performed over SkypeWhatsApp, messages, calls and even emails.

Aafreen Rehman got married to an Indore-based lawyer, a match that was found through a matrimonial service, in 2014. Two years later, her husband Ashar Warsi divorced her through speed post.

Aafreen alleges that her in-laws started harassing her for dowry just a few months after the wedding.

In 2016, she was at her parent's home when she received a letter from her husband via speed post, informing her that he was divorcing him according to Muslim law.

"You cannot understand what I went through how I felt when I got this letter. Have you heard of something like this before, that somebody divorces you via speed post?" an emotional Aafreen told NDTV.

"A husband can say talaq three times and it's accepted in Muslim personal law as a divorce, but there is no provision to ask the wife if she agrees with it or not," she added.

Zeenat Ali Siddiqui, who says she is a victim of triple talaq, speaks with the media after the SC verdict on it on Monday; PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore.

Ishrat Jahan's petition, a copy of which has been published by Live Law, challenged the practices of talaq-e-bidat (triple-talaq), nikah halalaand polygamy, stating that they violate fundamental rights bestowed to them under the Indian Constitution.

It sought to recognise these practices as "void and unconstitutional" as they are also "repugnant to the basic dignity of a woman as an individual".

Speaking to The Indian Express, the English literature postgraduate and a mother of one Gulshan Parween expressed how she didn’t understand why her consent was required for the marriage, but not divorce.

Gulshan’s story shows how in such situations, it is not just women, but also children, who are left in the lurch.

The native of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh was married in 2013 to a man who would go on to harass and abuse her for dowry, and was even arrested on the charges.

Two years later, in 2015, he sent her a talaqnama on a Rs. 10 stamp paper. She was at her parent's place at the time.

"I had no say. My husband felt like it one fine day and suddenly both my two-year-old son Ridan and I were homeless," she told IE.

When Gulshan refused to accept the divorce, her husband went to the local family court seeking dissolution of their marriage. Following this, Gulshan approached the SC and her petition was combined with Shayara Bano's.

Muslim women offering namaz in Chennai. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar.

Atiya Sabri's plight is similar to that of these women and numerous other victims of triple talaq in the country.

Soon after her marriage in 2012, her in-laws allegedly began torturing her for dowry. When Atiya, a resident of Saharanpur, couldn't take it anymore, she filed a complaint with the local police.

Her husband would then send a divorce letter to her brother's office, forcing her to knock on the apex court's door.

"Talaq given to me cannot be justified in any angle. I need justice as I have a huge responsibility on my shoulders to raise my daughters," the mother of two told The Times of India.

Main image source: Shayara Bano- screenshot/Mint; Atiya Sabri- screenshot/BBC and; Aafreen Rehman- screenshot/ANI News Official

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