In Hinduism and Christianity, the marriage is treated as a religious ritual and a promise to remain together, but marriage is a social contract among Muslims. Since it is a social contract, the Muslim Sharia (Islamic Law) provides the ways to terminate marriage in the form talaq.
The term talaq derives from an Arabic verse which means ‘freeing or undoing the knot’ that refers to a divorce. As per the Sharia, a talaq (divorce) is a two way process. Man can pronounce talaq to women and women can also seek talaq from husband, which is called as khulla.
Triple Talaq: It is called as triple talaq, as a “Divorce, accompanied by a number expressly or implied, shall count only as a single divorce and such a divorce is revocable except when three talaqs are given, one in each menstrual cycle.”
In simple words, to give divorce, the husband must say the phrase “I divorce you” (in Arabic, talaq) to his wife, three times over a period of three consecutive months. The idea behind prescribing the course of the three month period for the three month period is to check decisions based on impulse and give time for reconciliation.
The practise of instant triple talaq has become controversial in recent decades, as it has been misused by married men to ‘get rid of’ of one’s wife even for petty reasons. Sometimes, it has also been found that, modern means of communications such as text messages and emails were used to divorce by husbands.
This kind of triple talaq in an impulsive manner and without giving a chance for the reconciliation has raised concerns in the community and led to litigations in various courts across the country.
In various instances, the judiciary has been sympathetic towards suffering Muslim women and more recently, in December 2016, the Allahabad High Court declared the instantaneous triple talaq as unconstitutional.
Therefore, the apex-court asked the Union Government, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), and the other petitioners to spell their stand on the issue.