The board had asserted triple talaq may be sinful but it is a practice in existence for 1,400 years.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Tuesday on the constitutional validity of the “triple talaq” form of divorce among Muslims practised as part of their personal law.
A five-judge bench with judges from five religions, Chief Justice J.S. Khehar (Sikh), Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), Rohinton Nariman (Parsi); Uday Lalit (Hindu) and S.A. Abdul Nazeer (Muslim), will rule on whether the court can tinker with Muslim personal law.
It must be noted that at the end of arguments on “triple talaq”, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board had submitted a draft “nikhanama” (marriage agreement) that will include a clause that the bridegroom will not resort to the instant “triple talaq” to seek divorce. The board said a resolution to this effect had been passed and sent to all kazis in the country.
The bench held sittings in the summer vacation to decide the validity of “triple talaq” on a bunch of petitions filed by Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality and others, and the hearing was completed in six days. The petitioners questioned the validity of triple talaq and argued that it infringed with Muslim women’s fundamental right to equality before the law, while several Muslim countries had banned such a practice.
The board had asserted triple talaq may be sinful but it is a practice in existence for 1,400 years. “We don’t want the court to enter into a slippery slope. The court should not venture into the area and interpret something, which is not in its domain. Personal law, customs and faith cannot be tested under the garb of fundamental rights,” the board had said. Through its senior counsel Kapil Sibal, it had cautioned the court not to rule on this issue as it could lead to a backlash in the Muslim community, which might see its rights as being infringed upon and therefore resort to supporting practices like polygamy and oral divorce.
Then attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, had asserted the “triple talaq” issue should not be seen as discrimination between the majority and minority communities or the majority forcing its views on the minority. He said: “It is a tussle between haves and have-nots within the system. It is a intra-community struggle between men and women as men are more resourceful and educated.” The Centre argued that it was the court’s duty to step in and put a final end to this practice, which was not an integral part of religion.