Triple talaq: Supreme Court reserves verdict as 6-day hearing ends

Hindu beliefs not questioned Muslim faith is Indian Muslim law board

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, the Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq among Muslims.

The apex court took note of the Muslim personal law board's written submission on Tuesday that women had the right to insist against the use of triple talaq in the nikahnama. "Hence, there was no question of constitutional morality and equity", former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for AIMPLB, said. They have undertaken some reforms asking people not to do it.

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.

"Triple talaq is going on since 1400 years, how can you say it is unconstitutional?"

Sibal said the minority Muslims needed protection of their customs and practices in a Hindu majority democratic country.

This came in response to when Chief Justice of India (CJI) Jagdish Singh Khehar asked AIMPLB counsel Kapil Sibal if it is possible to give a bride the right to not accept instant Triple Talaq.

"Rights given under Article 25 of Constitution can not be considered as absolute", he said, adding the court has to look into these aspects as a community can not decide what is their fundamental rights.

On the second day of the hearing, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, who is the amicus curiae in the matter, said before the Supreme Court that the controversial Islamic divorce system can not be justified whatsoever.

The hearing assumed significance as the apex court has heard the matter during the summer vacation. This will not only protect the interest of a woman (Muslim) but also keep the 1,400 years faith of the followers of Islam, intact. "Even Article 25 [freedom of religion] is subject to fundamental rights", Mr. Rohatgi responded.

He also differed with AIMPLB which has contended that though sinful and undesirable triple talaq was a matter of faith for Muslims.

The 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. It was further argued that a husband can delegate the power of pronouncing triple talaq to his wife or to another person.

"Yes, the Constitution says we will preserve your religion, whatever it is". "If personal law is not outside the jurisdiction of the state, how it can be said that it is outside the jurisdiction of the court", she said, adding, "The matter was about supremacy of the Constitution".

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) today said it was ready to submit its opinion on abolition of triple talaq if the Supreme Court asked for it. It said India's 160 million Muslims followed the Hanafi school of Islam which validated triple talaq.

AIMPLB also said that the court should not venture into the issue on its own as no one has approached it.

"The only right, the only remedy to the citizens is to come to this court which is the custodian of fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution".

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