Supreme Court reserves its order in triple talaq case

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15 May: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court that the Centre will bring in a new law to regulate and marriage divorce among Muslims if the practice of triple talaq is declared unconstitutional.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that triple talaq was a "sin and undesirable" act, but still permissible and efforts are on to educate the community against its misuse.

Lawyer and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal who is representing All India Muslim Personal Law Board in the Supreme Court repeated his previous disagreement that the Court should not get hooked on the legitimacy of religious societies and principles.

When Rohatgi cited the steps taken to reform Hindu practices, including the banning of sati, infanticide and the devadasi system, Justice Joseph said that all those were legislatively decided.

11 April: The Centre has told the SC that the practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy impact the social status and dignity of Muslim women and deny them fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Citing examples, Khurshid told the court that the Triple Talaq practice can not be validated constitutionally.

"That Ram was born in Ayodhya is a matter of faith, not Constitutional morality". Yesterday, the Court seemed to change its mind and said it may look at these two issues as well (more on this later). If it is bad in theology, it can not be accepted in law.What is morally wrong can not be legally right.

"The constitutional validity of personal law in our country can not be tested on the oasis of enacted legislation of other countries", he said in his written submissions while questioning the arguments of the Centre and of petitioners who say triple talaq has been abolished in Islamic countries.

The apex court which has made a number of observations during the past hearings claimed the practice to be '"worst form of dissolution of marriage among Muslims". "Triple talaq is practised by a minuscule number in the Muslim community".

Sibal continued his arguments in the same vein -triple talaq is a personal law custom which has been in use for the last 1,400 years and it was beyond the purview of courts to test its constitutional validity. However, the wife argued that the talaq can not be considered legally valid as the petitioner did not follow the procedures as specified in the Muslim law.

Senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing for one of the petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq, in her rejoinder arguments said that the court was looking at the issue in the context of 67 years when fundamental rights came into force and not 1,400 years since the birth of Islam.

Khan, who had quit the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet over differences in handling the Shah Bano case, said the whole Shariat law has been distorted as "Shariat is the holy Quran and not the opinion of these people (clerics)".

"Yes, the Constitution says we will preserve your religion, whatever it is".

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

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

The AIMPLB said Muslim women too can pronounce triple talaq and ask for very high "mehr" amount in case of divorce.