How can 'sinful' triple talaq be a matter of faith, asks SC

19 May, 2017, 18:25 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • Chief Justice J S Khehar is heading five judge bench on the issue

Earlier in the morning, the bench asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) if it was possible to give the woman the option, before she gives her consent to nikaah, that the marriage she was entering into would not be dissolved through instant triple talaq and whether their advisory would be followed by the qazis at the ground. Countering Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's argument that triple talaq had to be tested on the principle of equity, good conscience and Constitutional morality, Sibal said such an examination could not take place in the absence of a relevant law.

The triple talaq hearing on a batch of petitions filed by Muslim Women's Quest for Equlity and others was completed in six record days by the Constitution Bench sitting during summer vacations. He, however, argued that the court should not examine it. If the groom did later pronounce the triple talaq, the bride would be able to challenge its validity in court by citing the nikahnama.

Contesting AIMPLB's claim to be a representative voice of the Muslim community, senior counsel Anand Grover said that Talaq-i-bidat was not an essential part of the Sunni Muslim faith, thus it has been changed in several Sunni-majority countries.

The verdict was expected these days, but the judges said they still reserved for their decision.

But the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and argues this is a religious matter and not for the courts.

Senior counsel Amit Singh Chadha, appearing for petitioner Shayara Bano, pointed out in front the bench that 'it will not solve our problems as married women will still have to go to court if in case talaq is pronounced'. Replying to which Sibal said yes "we are doing it". "Triple Talaq is a sin".

"Testing the validity of customs and practices is a slippery slope", Mr Sibal said.

The Chief Justice of India Justice J.S. Khehar is Sikh, Justice Abdul Nazeer is Muslim, Justice Uday Lalit is Hindu, Justice Kurian Joseph is Christian and Justice Rohinton Nariman is Parsi.

The AIMPLB first described triple talaq as "wrong", but "valid", then described it as a "matter of faith", hence not subject to judicial review.

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

In a last-ditch effort to stave off a drastic overhaul by the courts, the AIMPLB has indicated that it is willing to ask the qazis to provide Muslim women the option of keeping out the much-abused triple talaq practice out of their marriage contracts, and ask for a large amount of alimony.

However, the Central government has termed triple talaq and all its forms as unconstitutional and has demanded that it must be struck down.

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