New Publication: Reflections on the Shayara Bano Petition

January 24, 2017

Reflections on the Shayara Bano Petition, a Symbol of the Indian Judiciary’s own Evolution on the Issue of Triple Talak and the Place of Muslim Personal Law within the Indian Constitutional Frame? by Jean-Philippe Dequen has recently been published in the latest issue of Südasien-ChronikSouth Asia Chronicle 6/2016, S. 37-60.

Taking the Shayara Bano petition asking the Supreme Court of India to ban the practice of Muslim unilateral divorce (triple talak) on constitutional grounds as a starting point, this article seeks to present the evolution of Muslim Personal Law (MPL) in India from a legal historical perspective. It focuses particularly on the development of the legal argumentation revolving around the administration of MPL and its place within the Indian constitutional order. It highlights the conundrum the Indian judiciary faced in administering a minority law within a sometimes explosive political context, and how it managed to do so by gradually putting forward a harmonious interpretation between Islamic law and constitutional fundamental rights provisions, whist moving away from the British colonial legal legacy. It finally stresses the importance of Jammu and Kashmir’s High Court in giving the necessary impetus and legitimacy to this change in legal reasoning.

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