Triple talaq not integral to Islam, Centre tells Indian S/Court

Chief Justice J S Khehar is heading five judge bench on the issue

The AIMPLB has accepted that triple talaq is "sinful" and has no place in the Quran but has grown through custom and practice over 1,400 years.

When Mulla was referred to by senior advocate Salman Khurshid on Thursday, Justice Nariman said, "Mulla was not only a great scholar on Muslim law but also a qualified priest like me in the Parsi community".

The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar had asked AIMPLB, "Can it be that the AIMPLB passes a resolution binding all Quazis to incorporate a condition in the nikaah nama which gives the woman option to say no to triple talaq before she gives her consent to marry". The submission came just before the hearing on the Constitutional validity of triple talaq. The High Court described it as the "worst form of marriage dissolution" and wants it barred.

After hearing the petitions for six continuous days, the bench reserved its verdict. "Parliament can interfere, it can make a law", replied Sibal. Faced with near-certain defeat in the Supreme Court, the AIMPLB has fallen back on the lamest of excuses, claiming that doing away with triple talaq will be viewed as an attempt to infringe on its personal law and could prompt a backlash within the Muslim community.

Sibal further argued that just like the Hindus' faith about Rama's birth at Ayodhya can not be questioned, similarly Triple Talaq which is also a matter of faith for Muslims should not be questioned. How can a sinful practice be said to be a matter of faith.

It had also said that the issue of polygamy and "nikah halala" would be kept pending and will be dealt with later.

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However, the top court said that they have a limited time, so all the matters could not be covered at present. "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.

He said that Islam recognised both men and women as equal and unlike Christianity where it is women who take the blame, in Islam both husband and wife are held equally responsible.

The call to banish triple talaq should not be perceived as an attempt by the Hindu majority to "swamp or dominate" the Muslim minority, the NDA government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

He said the court should look into the background of the making of the Indian Constitution.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in his rebuttal to the arguments favouring the 1,400 year-old practice of triple talaq, made a strong pitch for judicial scrutiny on grounds including violation of fundamental rights like right to equality and gender justice and said that the apex court can not shy away.

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