W.P. (C) 118/2016

The Triple Talaq Case

Case Description

Shayara Bano, a Muslim woman has petitioned the Supreme Court to declare the practice of triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) to be unconstitutional as it violates her fundamental rights. The court will decide whether these practices are violations of her fundamental rights or otherwise protected by the right to religion.


Shayara Bano was married to Rizwan Ahmed for 15 years. In 2016, he divorced her through instantaneous triple talaq (talaq -e bidat). She filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of three practices – talaq-e-bidat, polygamy, nikah-halala – for violating Articles 14, 15, 21, 25 of the Constitution.

Talaq-e- bidat is a practise which gives a man the right to divorce to his wife by uttering ‘talaq’ three times in one sitting without his wife’s consent. Nikah Halala is a practise where a divorced woman who wants to remarry her husband would have to marry, and obtain divorce, from a second husband before she can go back to her first husband. And polygamy is a practice which allows Muslim men to have more than one wife.

The court in its Feb 16th order asked Shayara Bano, the aggrieved petitioner, the Union of India, women’ rights bodies and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to give written submissions on the issue of talaq-e- bidat, nikah-halala and polygamy. The Union of India and the women rights organizations like Bebaak Collective and Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan(BMMA) have supported the petitioner’s plea that these practices are unconstitutional albeit on different grounds. The AIMPLB has argued that uncodified Muslim personal law is not subject to constitutional judicial review and that these are essential practices of the Islamic religion and protected under Article 25 of the Constitution.

After accepting the Shayara Bano’s petition, the Apex Court formed a 5 judge constitutional bench on 30th March, 2017. The first hearing of the bench started on 11th May, 2017.



(1) Whether the practice of talaq-e-bidat (or more specifically instantaneous triple talaq) are essential practices of the Islamic religion?

(2)Whether such practices violate any fundamental rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution?


Latest Hearing

Judgement delivered on 22.08.2017

Decision of the 5 Judge Bench in the Triple Talaq Case


  • Recusal/abstention

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