Supreme Court reserves verdict over Triple Talaq

Muslim women Wikimedia

The Constitution bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S Abdul Nazeer will examine the matter till 19 May.

"Substantiating my view with reasons and examples, I asserted that it can not be justified and can not be given law's validation", Khurshid said during the hearing. But when it is triple talaq, the government raises the question of constitutional morality.

The board had on Tuesday said the divorce was being practised for 1,400 years and was a matter of faith.

17 April: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said on Monday the politicians maintaining silence on the issue of triple talaq were equally responsible as those practising it as he linked the Muslim practice of divorce to the disrobing of Draupadi in the Mahabharata.

Citing the prevailing conditions where Muslim women were protesting against instant triple talaq, Grover appearing for the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan's co-founder Zakia Suman, questioned the AIMPLB's claim that they are discouraging the practice of triple talaq amongst Muslims. "But if there is a clash between your personal law practices and the fundamental rights of equality and dignity, your personal law practices should give way", Mr. Rohatgi replied.

On the second day of the hearing last Friday, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, who is the amicus curiae in the matter, said before the apex court that the controversial Islamic divorce system can not be justified whatsoever.

The practice, that stretches back over a thousand years, allows a husband to divorce his wife by simply saying the Arabic word for divorce, talaq, three times.

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He said under Article 25 (right to practice religion) of Constitution, even the core component of a religion can be tested on the grounds of fundamental rights.

Sibal said the community faced the court on Wednesday to seek protection of its personal law, customs and practices using just faith.

The Attorney General and top law officers representing the Central government arguing in front of the five judge Constitution bench said the apex court should hear other cases also, besides triple talaq.

The patriarchal practice of triple talaq in a male-dominated community is not recognised by many schools of thought, he said, adding, "It is a bad, undesirable and sinful practice and violates constitutional guarantees of Muslim women". He subsequently moved the court to get the talaq declared valid, but the court dismissed the declaration suit on May 12. The rejection of the talaq declaration plea by the court comes against the backdrop of the Supreme Court proceedings on triple talaq. It also argued that that the community needed time to change and reform itself on its own without any outside interference or dictate. Muslim personal laws need refurbish.

Khan, who had quit the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet over differences in handling the Shah Bano case, said the whole Shariat law has been distorted as "Shariat is the holy Quran and not the opinion of these people (clerics)".

Jaising also questioned arguments that the matter was not within the jurisdiction of the court to decide. "We are working on it", he said. "I speak for the government and can't speak for parliament", he said reiterating that the top court was guardian of fundamental rights and has to see whether there was any violation of such rights.

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