When Shayara Bano from Uttarakhand moved the Supreme Court last year to declare triple talaq invalid, she was supported by women groups and individuals to get the “regressive practice” banned.
In contrast, it has been a silent struggle for 65-year-old Nargis Begum. She has been enduring a 30-year-old litigation against her husband’s claim to have divorced her through triple talaq.
Her plea is pending before the SC where she has questioned the Rajasthan high court’s decision upholding the trial court’s finding that Begum has been given “talaq”.
“There was no talaq and the court should not have accepted it on his statement. He never followed what is there in Quran... he should have uttered the word thrice in my presence after reconciliation efforts fail,” Begum said.
Begum’s husband — an engineer with the Rajasthan government — deserted her and their two-year-old daughter in February 1985, a year before Parliament passed the law that took away a divorced Muslim woman’s right to seek maintenance under the criminal procedure code (CrPc).
Begum moved court , asking for maintenance for her child and herself. In response, her husband admitted to the factum of marriage and promised to look after them.
A year later, however, he argued Begum was not entitled to maintenance because he had divorced her. She contested his U-turn and the court in October 1987 ordered a one-time settlement. Begum challenged the order and lost in 1994.
Nine years later, she took up the cause again. A bench headed by Justice SA Bobde found fault with her husband. The case was referred for mediation.
“I truly wish this is the last bit of my struggle,” Begum said.