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India top court rules Islamic instant divorce law unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of India [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] Tuesday that Islam's instant divorce law, which allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying the word "talaq" three times, was unconstitutional. The case was heard by five judges of the court and resulted in a vote of 3-2. The court found that the practice was gender discriminatory and noted that several countries with sizable Muslim populations do not allow the talaq instant divorce. The court has given a six-month period for the talaq divorce to be redefined or simply done away with altogether. No husband is allowed to use the talaq divorce during this period. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) [official website] filed an affidavit stating that they will recommend that during marriages, the husband not utilize the talaq divorce. However, the AIMPLB has stated [Reuters report] that they will contest the ruling. The ruling was supported by India's prime minister Narendra Modi.

In recent years, several practices of Islam have come under scrutiny throughout the world as being discriminatory against women. The practice of wearing a burka has seen several cases on both sides of the debate. In April, a Hungary court ruled to repeal [JURIST report] a village's ban on burkas. In February Bavaria approved [JURIST report] a partial ban on full-face veils in certain public spaces. Later that month the Turkish Ministry of Defense [official website, in Turkish] announced that female soldiers will be allowed to wear headscarves along with their uniforms. In December German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed [JURIST report] a partial ban on burqas and niqabs, saying that "the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever is legally possible." Also in December the Netherlands legislature voted in favor [JURIST report] of a partial burka ban. However, in July 2016 the EU's highest court ruled in favor [JURIST report] of a French woman who was fired for wearing a head scarf.

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