Muslim Women’s Rights Day is observed on August 1 each year to celebrate the enactment of a landmark law against the practice of triple talaq. The central government introduced this law on August 1, 2019, declaring instant triple talaq as a criminal offense. The day holds special significance as it marks the second anniversary of this pivotal law aimed at protecting the rights of Muslim women.
The law, known as the Protection of Marriage Rights Act 2019, rendered the practice of triple talaq illegal in India, a move that was welcomed wholeheartedly by Muslim women across the nation. The Supreme Court had earlier declared this practice, where a husband could divorce his wife by saying “talaq” thrice, as unconstitutional in August 2017.
The journey towards this law began with the landmark cases of ‘Shah Bano Begum & Ors Vs Mo Ahmed Khan’ and ‘Shayra Bano Vs Union of India and Others.’ Shayra Bano’s writ petition sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to declare talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq), polygamy, and nikah-halala unconstitutional, citing violations of Articles 14, 15, 21, and 25 of the Constitution.
After the Supreme Court’s rulings and considering the cases of triple talaq in India, the government introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in Parliament in December 2017. The bill faced opposition in the Rajya Sabha but was eventually passed by both Houses of Parliament in July 2019. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill, turning it into law.
The legislation not only outlawed instant triple talaq but also imposed a three-year jail term for violators and made them liable to pay a fine. It marked a significant milestone in liberating Muslim women from the social constraints of divorce conditions.
Muslim Women’s Rights Day on August 1, therefore, stands as a testament to the progress made in securing the rights of Muslim women in India and symbolizes the continuous efforts to ensure gender equality and justice in marriage laws.