Madan Mohan Shukla

History created by Indian Judiciary with two momentous strokes of judgments by the Supreme Court When a divided five judge constitutional bench of the court declared 1400 years old, archaic custom, of instant talaq unconstitutional. It armed Muslim women to lead a marital life with dignity and leaves no space to put her life at the whims of her husband’s.

The Court overturned an 85-year-old judicial decision that upheld the validity of the controversial practice that permitted a Muslim man to instantaneously divorce his wife.

Justice RF Nariman & UU Lalit says the practice is arbitrary as “marital ties can be broken capriciously & whimsically without any attempt at reconciliation”. Triple talaq is one of the only three permissible forms of divorces in Islam; stated to be sinful by the very Hanafi School that formulates its ruling, which is arbitrary & in violation of article 14 of the Constitution.

Justice Joseph said that the practice was not dictated by Quran and hence it is not integral to Islam.

Now with this judgment constitution guarantees equal protection to men & women. Earlier with no chances of reconciliation, many women found themselves destitute, with no recourse available to them in civil law.

On Thursday, a unanimous nine judge constitutional bench declared that privacy is a fundamental right and will be protected as an intrinsic part of the freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

What stood out was, that privacy being declared as an intrinsic part to right to life and formed part of the sacrosanct chapter on fundamental rights in the Constitution. Right to Life had been regarded as part of the basic structure since 1973 and is immune from parliamentary interference.

Right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal Liberty under article 21 and is a part of the freedom guaranteed under Part3. With this ruling, the constitution bench set the stage for three judge bench to decide the validity of Aadhar, challenged by 21 petitions led by retired HC judge KS Puttaswamy. The Judges will scrutinize whether the collection of biometric data and linking it with various activities of citizens violated their right to privacy or not.

As things turned out Chief Justice Khehar, who retires this weekend, will do so with the satisfaction that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed its commitment to protect fundamental rights with a resolute 9-0 verdict.