What is triple talaq or instant divorce?

The use and status of this divorce method in India has been a subject of controversy and debate

Triple talaq, also known as ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or instant divorce, is a form of Islamic divorce that has been used by Muslims in India, especially adherents of Hanafi Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence.

It allows any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by stating the word ‘talaq’ three times in oral, written, or more recently, electronic form.

The use and status of ‘triple talaq’ in India has been a subject of controversy and debate. Those questioning the practice have raised issues of justice, gender equality, human rights and secularism. The debate has involved the union government and the apex Supreme Court (SC), and is connected to the debate about a uniform civil code in India.

On August 22, 2017, the SC deemed instant ‘triple talaq’ unconstitutional. Later the Narendra Modi-government formulated a bill called the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 and introduced it in the Parliament, which was passed on December 28, 2017 by Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament).

The Bill makes instant ‘triple talaq’ in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — illegal and void, with up to three years in jail for the husband.

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