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What is instant triple talaq?

The Supreme Court will give its verdict on instant triple talaq on Tuesday. Express photo by Renuka Puri. (Representational)

The Triple Talaq Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha after incorporating some of the amendments proposed by the Opposition. The Bill seeks to imprison Muslim men who resort to the practice of instant divorce. The passage of the Bill, however, wasn’t without drama in the Lower House. After vociferous protests by the Opposition, which termed the Bill as “unconstitutional”, they staged a walkout after their demand that it be referred to a select committee was met with resistance from the treasury benches.

Here is everything you need to know about the practice of instant triple talaq:

What is instant triple talaq?

Instant triple talaq or talaq-e-bidat is a practice that was challenged in the court. It is different from the practice of “talaq-ul-sunnat”, which is considered to be the ideal form of dissolution of marriage contract among Muslims.

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Under the latter form, once the husband pronounces talaq, the wife has to observe a three-month iddat period covering three menstrual cycles during which the husband can arbitrate and re-conciliate with the wife. In case of cohabitation between the couple, during these three months, the talaq is revoked. However, when the period of iddat expires and the husband does not revoke the talaq either expressly or by consummation, the talaq is irrevocable and final.

In the practice of talaq-e-biddat, when a man pronounces talaq thrice in a sitting, or through phone, or writes in a talaqnama or a text message, the divorce is considered immediate and irrevocable, even if the man later wishes to re-conciliate. The only way for the couple to go back to living together is through a nikah halala, which requires the woman to get remarried, consummate the second marriage, get divorced, observe the three-month iddat period and return to her husband. The practice of talaq-e-biddat has been viewed as abhorrent in theology but upheld as valid by law.’Declaring the practice of talaq-e-biddat as “unconstitutional” may not balance out the gender parity among Muslims, because men still reserve the right to talaq without resorting to legal course of action.

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Different view of marriage for Muslims

Unlike in Christianity or Hinduism, the view of marriage is different for Muslims. Under Muslim law, marriage is not seen as a sacrament but as a civil contract. The contract is accepted between the two parties on the basis of mutual consent, after the utterance of ‘qabul’.

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