There was some confusion as the verdict on the triple talaq issue was pronounced by a five-judge constitution bench, with many of those attending the hearing getting the first impression that it was a unanimous verdict.
As soon as Chief Justice J S Khehar uttered that “triple talaq was a matter of personal law” of Muslims, it was a “matter of faith, practiced by them for at least 1400 years”, “does not breach Article 25 of the constitution (freedom of religion)” and “has protection of the constitution”, “government should step in and bring a law”, a number of TV channel reporters, always in a race to break the news first even flashed that the apex court was set to uphold the validity of triple talaq.
Several journalists rushed out of the courtroom to break the news to the world, assuming that the CJI has delivered the verdict for the entire bench.
However, the turnaround began when Justice Kurian Joseph started reading out the operative part of his judgement and expressely disagreed with the findings spelt out by the CJI minutes ago.
The CJI had penned the 275-page minority verdict for himself and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
Soon after Justice Joseph finished reading, the third senior-most judge at the bench, Justice R F Nariman, read out the operative portion of his judgement and refusing to agree with the views expressed by Chief Justice.
The last and the most important line he said was that Justice U U Lalit has agreed with his views.
The impression that the judgement weighed in favour of the views expressed by Chief Justice and Justice S Abdul Nazeer suddenly changed then, as it became clear that the views expressed by Justices Joseph, Nariman and Lalit were that of the majority.
As soon as Justice Nariman spoke the last line that Justice Lalit has agreed with his views, the CJI went into a huddle with Justice Nariman.
Chatter among the lawyers started inside the packed CJI's courtroom that the views expressed by Chief Justice and Justice Nazeer have been reduced to a minority. Thereafter, Chief Justice signed the verdict and read out the one-line order of court, saying In view of the different opinions recorded, by a majority of 3:2 the practice of 'talaq-e-biddat' triple talaq is set aside