India: Social media reacts to ban on instant divorce

Amid praise for the Supreme Court’s decision to suspend instant divorce practice, others push for more women’s rights.

India's Supreme Court ruled that instant Muslim divorce 'violates constitutional morality' [Prakash Singh/AFP]

In a move hailed by activists as important and progressive, India on Tuesday banned the practice of instant divorce used by some members of its Muslim minority population.

Known as triple talaq, the act was suspended by a panel of five judges who ruled by a majority of 3-2 that it “is not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality”.

Under triple talaq, a husband can divorce his wife by uttering or writing three times the word “talaq” – which means divorce. This has led to devastating consequences, with women often finding themselves destitute.

There have also been instances where women were divorced in this way by receiving a WhatsApp message or through Skype.

READ MORE: What is ‘triple talaq’ or instant divorce?

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the women of India who fought against the practice in his Independence Day speech.

“I pay respects to those women who had to lead miserable lives due to triple talaq and then started a movement which created an environment in the whole nation against the practice,” Modi said.

He tweeted on Tuesday that the ban was a “powerful measure for women empowerment”.

Some on social media used the opportunity to remind their followers that Islam as a religion granted women rights.

The widely recommended and used mode of divorce in the Muslim world involves a waiting period of a few months after the first “talaq” word is uttered, which gives time for reconciliation efforts to be made.

Others said that the triple talaq divorce rates are far less common than many people would believe.

There was some disagreement over who to credit for the ruling – the BJP, Modi’s ruling party, or the female activists who have campaigned for the past two years to abolish the practice.

Others saw the development as the first steps in achieving partial equality while acknowledging other factors and laws that hinder women’s rights.

Source: Al Jazeera