NEW DELHI: Two media reports highlighting plight of Muslim women led the Supreme Court to change its professed stand that the sensitive issue of "triple talaq" involved state policy and Parliament should deal with it.
A five-judge constitution bench, by a majority of 3:2, set aside the prevalent practice of 'triple talaq' among Sunni Muslims saying it went against the basic tenets of Holy Quran and the Islamic law Shariat.
However, the apex court had refused to entertain the plea of Ahmedabad Women Action Group in 1997 on the discrimination meted out to Muslim women in the case, saying that the issue involved "State policy to be dealt with by the legislature".
It had then referred to the observations made in two cases in which it was said that a climate was required to be built for a uniform civil code and "the court could at best advise and focus attention to the problem instead of playing an activist role".
The professed stand got changed when a bench comprising Justices A R Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel, in 2015, decided to take up the matter on its own and referred it to the then Chief Justice for necessary action.
It had taken note of two news articles, including one titled as 'Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality', which was published in a leading English daily. They had highlighted the plight of Muslim women who suffered polygamy and unilateral triple talaq.
It was pointed out that in spite of constitutional guarantee, the Muslim women were subjected to discrimination and there was no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during the currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her.
Finally, a five-judge constitution bench came into being and struck the practice down on grounds, including that it was against the basic tenets of the Holy Quran and violated the Islamic law Shariat.