Judgement of the day: Shayara Bono v. Union of India


Chief Justice JS Khehar, a Sikh; Justices Kurian Joseph, a Christian; RF Nariman, a Parsi; UU Lalit, a Hindu; and Abdul Nazeer, a Muslim.


Shayara Bano was married to Rizwan Ahmed for 15 years. In 2016, he divorced her through instantaneous triple talaq (talaq -e biddat). She filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court asking it to hold three practices – talaq-e-biddat, polygamy, nikah-halala – unconstitutional as they violate Articles 14 (equality before the law), 15 (1) (prohibition of discrimination including on the ground of gender), 21(right to life), 25(freedom of religion) of the Constitution of India.


The Supreme Court laid down this judgment on August 22, 2017 with a 3:2, majority in favour of the appellant and held the practice of Triple Talaaq unconstitutional.

Since the majority opinion was against the practice, the court held that triple talaq is not protected by the exception laid down in Article 25 and is violative of Article 14,15 and 21. It was not regarded as the essential religious practice of Islam. Hence, it is no longer legal throughout India. Following the judgement of the court, the government formulated “the Muslim women (protection of rights on marriage) Act, 2019 criminalising the act of triple talaq.

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