Of Marriage, Divorce and Criminalisation

Reflections on the Triple Talaq Judgement in India

in Journal of Legal Anthropology
Author:
Anindita ChakrabartiIIT Kanpur, India aninditac@iitk.ac.in

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K. C. Mujeebu RahmanDoctoral Candidate, IIT Kanpur, India mujeeb@iitk.ac.in

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Suchandra GhoshAssistant Professor, Jhargram Raj College (Girls’ Wing). India ghsuchi@iitk.ac.in

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In India, where religion-specific laws govern issues of marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption and inheritance, the family laws of Muslims – the largest religious minority – have been a thorny issue in the post-independence period. In recent years, the major intervention in Muslim personal law reform came in the form of the invalidation of instant divorce or triple talaq by the Supreme Court of India. Subsequently, a law was passed that criminalised it. By delving into a close examination of recent judicial activism and by drawing on our ethnographic work with Muslim women in India, we show that it is only by refocussing the debate from judicial discourse to legal practice that the trope of Muslim women’s victimhood and the tired debates about religious freedom versus citizenship rights can be questioned and bypassed.

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