Triple talaq matter of faith like Rama's birth place: AIMPLB

Katie RamirezMay 20, 2017

The Centre today requested the Supreme Court to declare the instant triple talaq unconstitutional irrespective of whether or not the Quran sanctions it, and offered to enact a new law to govern marriages and divorces among Muslims. "The scope of referring had all the three issues that was divorce, nikah halala and polygamy".

A five-judge constitutional bench of the top court is hearing the issue which has been raised in the form of a petition by several organisations.

When asked by the five-judge Bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar, Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohington F Nariman, UU Lalit and S Abdul Nazeer that why triple talaq has been abolished by other Islamic countries, Sibal replied, "These practices have nothing to do with equity or good conscience".

At this, Chief Justice Khehar said that the top court was not just the "guardian to the Constitution but also that of the Minorities Act".

Men can declare talaq - or divorce - at any point in a marriage and do not need approval form the court.

While Jethmalani attacked the practice on various constitutional grounds including the right to equality and termed it "abhorrent", Khan said it was akin to the pre- Islamic era practice of burying a female child alive in the Arabian region.

"If both marriage and divorce are contracts then why should others have a problem with triple talaq especially when it is a practise of 1,400 years?".

The apex court has fixed a six-day schedule for hearing, in which three days are available for those challenging triple talaq and three days for those defending it.

The Muslim body also equated triple talaq with the Hindu belief that Lord Rama was born at Ayodhya.

Attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi told the court it was not an "ecclesiastical court" but a constitutional one that ought to decide cases on principles of law, morality and public order.

More than 90 percent of Muslim women surveyed in 2015 by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), which campaigns for women's rights, wanted an end to triple talaq and polygamy.

Persistent level headed discussions on the legitimacy and credibility of this practice were prompted not long after one solicitor, Shayara Banu, tested the Muslim individual law over the quick use of triple (talaq-e-bidat), polygamy and nikah-halala. Sibal said this kind of discrimination is not possible in Muslim law as everyone gets a share.

Saying that the diversity of India has to be nurtured and not ridden over roughshod, Sibal referred to the Constitution's Article 371 which provides for special provisions in respect of different states and laws in respect of them can't be made without their consent. But we are not here to tinker with religion, tenets of religion and religious practices.

"Triple talaq is unconstitutional. It violates the rights of Muslim women", ruled the high court, adding that no personal law board was above the Constitution.

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