The justification of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board in the Supreme Cou-rt on “triple talaq” form of divorce, cautioning the co-urt from its interference in religious freedom and stating that
The justification of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board in the Supreme Cou-rt on “triple talaq” form of divorce, cautioning the co-urt from its interference in religious freedom and stating that the court cannot “rewriting personal laws in the name of social reform”, has not gone down well with the experts in Muslim law and women activists.
Stressing that the Supreme court must intervene, Dr Zeenat Shauqat Ali, professor of Islamic studies and the D-G of the Wisdom Foundation, said that the practice of triple talaq violates “the Constitution and violates Islam” and hence the act which leads to suppression of women must end.
“In Islam, there is no such thing as triple talaq in one sitting. The Prophet disapproved divorce per say all together. The Prophet laid a long drawn procedure if the couple wanted to separate. The triple talaq, which is also called Talaq-e-bidat which means an innovation, is not mentioned in the Quran and Prophet condemned it. Even the Musl-im law board considered it sinful and an offence, then how can they change their stand now ” she said.
Adding that “this form of divorce, which is still a practice in the name of Islam, violates the Constitution, she said that there was a strong need for the matter to go to the Supreme Court”.
Citing that “validity of triple talaq cannot be decided by the Supreme Court”, the All-India Muslim Per-sonal Law Board told the court that the triple talaq form of divorce is “permissible in Islam as the husband is in a better position to take a decision because they won’t take hasty a decision and it is used only when there is a valid ground,” the board said.
Significantly, Flavia Agnes, expert in Muslim law said that the board has no authority on Quran. “The board is just a NGO and not an authority on Quran. SC is the final authority. In earlier cases, the board has been the party to the proceedings in the SC. They can put forth their point, but it holds no validity. The ultimate law is Quran. It is their opinion and not a law,” she added.
In their affidavit, the board has said that “the policy of Islam is that it is better to dissolve the marriage when there is bitterness among couples”.
Dr Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research, begged to differ.
“Personal laws are codified customary practices and across religious groups, it discriminates against women. It’s time we should repeal them and replace them with common law of the land. Triple talaq is not acceptable to many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia. It is discrimination as it is unilateral and Muslim women get no right to contest it. They are left to fend for themselves and their children without any support. That is why most of Muslim women’s organisations have opposed it. The Supreme Court of India has to establish constitutional guarantee of equality before the law,“ she said.