National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam today questioned the absence of a woman in the Supreme Court bench hearing the triple talaq issue. “Watching the hoo-haa over the bench hearing the triple talaq matter and considering the different religions of the judges, it struck me that the issue is not about religion but about women’s rights and human rights as it involves children as well. There should have been a lady judge on the bench,” she told PTI.
“Though I am not questioning the competence of any of the judges, Justice R Banumathi should have been there,” she added. The matter is being heard by a five-judge constitution bench. The judges come from different religious backgrounds — a Sikh, a Christian, a Parsi, a Hindu and a Muslim. Of the 28 Supreme Court judges currently, only one, Justice R Banumathi, is a woman.
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“Muslim women I have spoken to maintain that triple talaq as practised by the men nowadays is not what the Quran had prescribed. The men have been misusing it to marginalise and victimise the women,” said Kumaramangalam while stressing on the gender sensitivity of the issue.
Last year, the NCW chairperson had called for a complete ban on triple talaq, a month after the Centre told the Supreme Court that it was against the practice. “While it has been made political, it is purely a human rights issue,” said Kumaramangalam.