The Supreme Court will today continue hearing the Triple Talaq matter. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) yesterday told the apex court that marriage in the Muslim community is a contract and in order to protect their interests, they can put special emphasis on certain clauses in ‘nikahnama’. The board further said that a Muslim woman had every right to pronounce Triple Talaq in all forms, and also ask for very high ‘mehr’ amount in case of talaq. The board’s reply came after Chief Justice of India (CJI) Jagdish Singh Khehar asked AIMPLB counsel Kapil Sibal if it is possible to give bride the right to not accept instant Triple Talaq. The board also showed the court a resolution passed on April 14 2017 which stated Triple Talaq as a sin and that the community should boycott the person doing such an act.
The apex court also wanted to know from the AIMPLB if it is possible for the board whether their (SC) advisory will be followed by the Qazis at the ground level. One of the board’s lawyers Yousuf Hathim Muchala told the top court that the advisory of AIMPLB is not mandatory for all Qazis to follow. Muchala, however, made it clear that the board accepts the suggestions in all humility and will look at it. Sibal earlier on Monday’s proceedings said the apex court should not decide or interfere in one’s faith and belief. To this, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, one of the five judges constituting the bench asked, if they should not hear the matter at all. “Yes, you should not hear,” replied Sibal.
Earlier, Sibal asked the top court as to how a 1400-year-old practice be branded ‘unconstitutional’. “Triple Talaq is going on since 1400 years, how can you say it is unconstitutional?” Sibal asked the apex court. Sibal further argued that just like the Hindus’ faith about Rama’s birth at Ayodhya cannot be questioned, similarly Triple Talaq which is also a matter of faith for Muslims should not be questioned. The bench also questioned the AIMPLB on the position of e-divorce given on WhatsApp in Islam.
The Centre, during the earlier hearing, assured the apex court that it would come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if Triple Talaq is upheld as invalid. “The government will come out with law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if court holds Triple Talaq as invalid,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench. 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.
Earlier in the hearing, the apex court refused to hear all the three cases of Polygamy, Nikah and Halala at once, saying it will focus on one matter at a time. The Attorney General and top law officers representing the Central government arguing in front of the five-judge Constitution bench said the apex court should hear other cases also, besides Triple Talaq. However, the top court said that they have limited time, so all the matters could not be covered at present.
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 cannot be justified whatsoever. Citing examples, Khurshid told the court that the Triple Talaq practice cannot be validated constitutionally. “There was a discussion that whether Triple Talaq is valid constitutionally.
Substantiating my view with reasons and examples, I asserted that it cannot be justified and cannot be given law’s validation,” Khurshid said during the hearing. The Centre, earlier on May 11, told the apex court that it opposes the Triple Talaq practice and wants to fight for women equality and gender justice. However, AIMPLB counsel Kapil Sibal told the apex court that Triple Talaq is a matter that comes under the Muslim board and therefore, with his opinion, the top court should not interfere with it.
“The Central Government makes rules but in my opinion the apex court should not interfere into it,” Sibal said. While hearing several pleas filed by Muslim women challenging the practice of Triple Talaq, the apex court earlier observed that it would examine whether the issue is fundamental to religion or not. A five-judge bench of the apex court further observed that it would not hear polygamy issue along with the Triple Talaq case.