How can 'sinful' triple talaq be a matter of faith, asks SC


A unique, multi-faith five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, with a Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim on it, concluded hearings on the challenge to the triple talaq practice on Thursday but Justice Abdul Nazeer did not utter a single word during the six-day hearing.

Justice Nariman said, "Talaq may be essential, but it is a big step to claim that this [instant triple talaq] is essential to religion".

Mr. Giri also argued that unless there are statutory inroads into personal laws, the courts can not test or strike them down.

"Today I am young and why would I spend my whole life with the fear of triple talaq?".

Contesting AIMPLB's claim to be a representative voice of the Muslim community, senior counsel Anand Grover said that Talaq-i-bidat was not an essential part of the Sunni Muslim faith, thus it has been changed in several Sunni-majority countries.

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Triple talaq case: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), on May 18 informed the Supreme Court that it would soon allow a provision that allows women to say to "triple talaq" in their nikahnama (marriage contract).

Just a day ago, the court had asked the AIMPLB the possibility to include such a provision in the nikahnama. Replying to which Sibal said yes "we are doing it". She said it was after months of research and consultations with scholars that she prepared a draft which included progressive provisions like giving women the right to pronounce talaq and the Quranic method of talaq which invalidates triple talaq or instant divorce.

Shayara Bano's counsel also attacked the very reasoning put forward by the board.

As he referred to the Vishakha guidelines that were framed by the top court to protect women at workplace in the absence of any law, Justice Kurian Joseph said that it was in the domain of a statute and not the Constitution.

Rohatgi also conveyed to the apex court bench that triple talaq violates Muslim women's right to equality within the community, and also within the country.

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Chief Justice Khehar said: "Did court do it?"

Mr. Giri insisted that triple talaq is a part of religion and "if it is part of religion, it is protected by Article 25 [freedom of religion] of the Constitution".

Mr Anand Grover summed up saying triple talaq is not found in Quran, that it was deprecated by the Prophet himself and was considered sinful by all schools of thought of Sunnis and Shias.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in his rebuttal to the arguments favouring the 1,400 year-old practice of triple talaq, 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 can not shy away.

However, the Central government has termed triple talaq and all its forms as unconstitutional and has demanded that it must be struck down.

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