SC's progressive verdict on triple talaq works in favour of BJP  

  ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
Wednesday, 23 August 2017

In this country nothing remains apolitical! Every social, economic or cultural development ultimately has political impact.
 
There is no doubt that the Supreme Court verdict on controversial Islamic tradition of triple talaq has nothing to do with the BJP led NDA government or current political regime. It is a court verdict on an independent petition filed by some activists. However the significance of this landmark judgment is so big and the impact is going to be so far reaching that this verdict will surely have huge political ramifications all over the country.
 

In this country nothing remains apolitical! Every social, economic or cultural development ultimately has political impact.
 
There is no doubt that the Supreme Court verdict on controversial Islamic tradition of triple talaq has nothing to do with the BJP led NDA government or current political regime. It is a court verdict on an independent petition filed by some activists. However the significance of this landmark judgment is so big and the impact is going to be so far reaching that this verdict will surely have huge political ramifications all over the country.
 
Even as the case was heard in courts over the past many months, we observed the “heated debates” on news television every now and then in which ruling party BJP’s spokespersons argued how triple talaq was an inhuman tradition. This created an undercurrent among the Muslims with women of the community developing some sympathy for BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had backed the petitioners in this landmark case.
 
Whoever in the BJP think-tank thought of this strategy has played a masterstroke. Sometimes when you are in power, everything seems to be going your way! That’s what is happening to the BJP right now. The BJP was seen backing the petition and now the SC verdict has gone in favour of the petition. This could perhaps make the women of the Muslim community tilt in favour of the BJP. That will be a huge shot in the arm nationally!   
 
The Supreme Court has banned the controversial Islamic practice that allows men to divorce their wives instantly by saying "talaq" three times, saying it is unconstitutional. Victims of the practice of "triple talaq" had approached the Supreme Court to ask for a ban. The majority opinion held that triple talaq is not in keeping with the tenets of Islam.

"Judgment of the Hon'ble SC on Triple Talaq is historic. It grants equality to Muslim women and is a powerful measure for women empowerment," PM Modi tweeted on Tuesday.  All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and argues this is a religious matter and not for the courts.  India allows religious institutions to govern matters of personal law - marriage, divorce and property inheritance - through civil codes; so far, triple talaq has been considered a legal avenue for the country's nearly 180 million Muslims to end marriages.
 
Many on social media are now commenting about how 30 years ago the decisions taken by Rajiv Gandhi after SC’s verdict on the Shah Bano case provided huge political ammunition to the BJP to launch a nationwide hindutva campaign. And how now similar case about Muslim personal law has again worked in favour of the BJP.  The Shah Bano case, was a controversial maintenance lawsuit in India in which a supreme court judgment favoring maintenance given to an aggrieved divorced Muslim woman was overruled by the then Congress government.

Shah Bano, a 62-year-old mother of five from Indore was divorced by her husband in 1978. She filed a criminal suit in the Supreme Court in which she won the right to alimony from her husband. However, she was subsequently denied the alimony when the Congress government reversed the judgement under pressure from Islamic orthodoxy.  
Now in a sense the circle is complete and a political party which supports this progressive step by courts is ruling the country. There is no doubt that the women (close to half of the community) will support the BJP in the near future.

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