Triple talaq controversy has taken a more serious turn after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) put it on its in election manifesto for the Assembly elections. It has also filed a response to Law Commission’s questionnaire on triple talaq and the timing. The law commission is currently looking at 40,000 responses to the ‘Questionnaire on Uniform Civil Code’. The issue deals with a Muslim practice where a husband can divorce his wife by uttering talaq thrice. Justice BS Chauhan told the Indian Express that a larger consensus was of the opinion that spontaneous triple talaq, as is currently practiced, is not in keeping with what was stated in the Shariat, which mandates a three-month iddat period meant for reconciliation and arbitration.
The Union government filed its response in a Supreme Court case opposing instantaneous triple talaq. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board sent their signature campaign to the Law Commission opposing any interference in the Shariat. “While we are yet to tabulate the huge number of responses, one thing we have observed is that most people, even among the Muslims, have opposed the practice of spontaneous triple talaq. They have held that iddat period should be observed,” said Chauhan.
He said that, “In December, Justice Mohammad Mustaq of the Kerala High Court delivered a judgment examining the validity of triple talaq and sent it to the Law Commission, referring the matter to us. Those who have been alleging that this exercise carries forward the government’s agenda should understand that with the court order, we are bound to examine the matter now.”
“The empirical finding establishes that triple talaq as practised in India in almost all the case(s) is not by following Qur’anic injunctions and such practices are allowed in the name of religion, without its backing. The only way out for the State is to find out the meaning of rationale of the personal law and to regulate divorce in accordance with the purpose of law,” said Chauhan.
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He clarified that the law commission is not only looking at Triple Talaq but also at the issue of gender justice in personal laws of all religions, in terms of marriage, divorce, child custody and property rights. “Why are we only talking of triple talaq? Except for certain matriarchal societies, such as those in parts of the Northeast, most women still have no right to agricultural land. We will be looking at gender justice in all aspects of personal law. Never before in India has any law commission sought responses from people. This was a first-of-its-kind experiment. In any developed country, law is made after consultation with stakeholders. After all, enforcement of law depends upon acceptability of law,” he said.