New Delhi, May 18: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved the order on a batch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq among Muslims. The hearing in the court began on last Thursday before a five-judge Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. The bench also comprises of Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer.
Reiterating his point that court should not interfere in the matter of faith and belief, Sibal said, “Your Lordships are not here to decide what are the sinful practices in the world, Legislature can interfere but not you.”
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had on Wednesday told the court that triple talaq is neither integral to Islam nor a “majority versus minority” issue but rather an “intra-community tussle” between Muslim men and deprived women. Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, made a strong pitch for judicial scrutiny on grounds including violation of fundamental rights like right to equality and gender justice and said that the apex court cannot shy away.
The bench also asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) whether a woman can be given an option of saying ‘no’ to triple talaq at the time of execution of ‘nikahnama’ (marriage contract). “Can it be made possible to give an option to a wife that she can say that she was agreeable to or not agreeable to it (triple talaq)?
“Is it possible to pass a resolution to all ‘qazis’ to include this condition (giving right to woman to say ‘no’ to triple talaq) in ‘nikahnama’? Give an option to wife to say ‘no’ to triple talaq,” the bench had said.
Former Union minister and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing the AIMPLB, said that he will respond to after talking to all the board members.
Rohatgi, responding to Sibal and a battery of senior lawyers favouring triple talaq, said even the core of religion has to be tested on the touchstone of fundamental rights. Rohatgi said that even they say that triple talaq was “undesirable”, “sinful” but yet valid and wondered “then how it can be said to be integral to religion”.
Today was the sixth day of the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ which is going on before a bench comprising members of different religious communities including Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim. The court had clarified that the issue of polygamy and nikah halala are pending due to paucity of time.
The hearing assumed significance as the apex court has heard the matter during the summer vacation.
With inputs from PTI