While Asaduddin Owaisi and co. are trying to use Supreme Court’s Adultery law judgment to push their own agenda of decriminalising triple talaq, the top court through its judgment has left the AIMIM chief red-faced, mentioning why the archaic practice of triple talaq was annulled, leaving the AIMIM chief red-faced.
Moments after the 5-judge bench of Supreme Court declared penal provision on adultery as unconstitutional, terming it as a dent to the individuality of a woman, AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi politicised the verdict and said “first they decriminalise Section 377, then now Section 497, but why not triple talaq.”
The Supreme Court struck down Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises adultery on the basis that it institutionalises discrimination, the same reason why triple talaq was found 'constitutionally infirm'.
The Supreme Court in its judgment in the adultery case, cited its ruling in Shayara Bano v Union of India, when the practice of triple talaq was scrapped as it was “manifestly arbitrary” in the sense that a marriage tie can be broken by a man based on his whim without any attempt to reconcile, which is in a clear contradiction with Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution.
Further, while pitting the adultery law against triple talaq, the court ruled that criminalisation must be tested on the anvil of constitutionality and that it must not be determined by majoritarian notions of morality which are at odds with constitutional morality. The judgment of the top court clearly blunts Asaduddin Owaisi’s charge that ordinance is anti-Muslim women. This will lead to more injustice to Muslim women, as the accused husband could be sent to prison, leaving the wife to fend for herself.
The judgment also nullifies Owaisi's charge that it is the government that is saying that the practice is unconstitutional, whereas the Supreme Court hadn't say any such thing. However, the Supreme Court, in Thursday's judgment, while citing the ruling in the Shayara Bano case, said that 'Triple Talaq was found constitutionally infirm and struck down by the majority'.
The Supreme Court had in a verdict in August last year declared instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional. Muslim women had petitioned the court, arguing that practice of husbands divorcing them through "triple talaq", including by Skype and WhatsApp, not only violated their rights but also left many women destitute.
On Thursday, the 5-judge bench of Supreme Court declared penal provision on adultery as unconstitutional, terming it as a dent to the individuality of a woman. Justice Chandrachud while reading out the judgment on Adultery law said that Section 497 deprives a woman of her privacy.
“Society has two sets of standards for judging the morality of men and women. Section 497 also deprives a woman of a her privacy. The law is gender biased, gives unequal voice to partners,” said Justice Chandrachud.