Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi today said practice of triple talaq should not be allowed as women have as much right as men and cannot be treated on a lower pedestal. Explaining the Centre’s stand on the issue of triple talaq, the top law officer said there cannot be a situation in a secular country where women of one religion have same right as their spouse but women of another religion, who may be living next door, will not have the same right.
Rohatgi’s comments came a day after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said that it has decided to issue a code of conduct and warned that those who give talaq (divorce) without ‘Sharia’ (Islamic law) reasons will face social boycott. The Supreme Court is already seized of the issue of triple talaq and is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions on it from May 11 onwards. “The Government of India has filed an affidavit supporting the challenge saying such practices should not be allowed in a secular nation where there is no distinction between caste, creed, colour or religion or on gender equality.
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“Women have as much right as men. Both have fundamental rights and one cannot be treated on a lower pedestal. And this constitutes 50 per cent of women of one religion. “So can we have a situation where women of other religions have as much right as their spouse but women of another religion, who may be living next door or in the same house, will not have the same rights,” Rohatgi said.
He said that the Centre’s stand is such practices are unconstitutional and they should not be allowed, adding, “The women should not be treated in this fashion. This also amounts to disrespect and that’s the strategy we have taken.” On the stand of the AIMPLB, Rohatgi said, “Now if the board also feels that these kinds of practices are not good. They should have the courage to tell this to the Supreme Court. They should come forward and say that these practices are pernicious and they are not part of their religion.”
Several Muslim women have challenged the practice of triple talaq in which the husband can give talaq thrice in one go, even over the phone or through a text message. Nikah halala is a practice intended to curb incidence of divorce under which a man cannot remarry his former wife without her having to go through the process of marrying someone else, consummating it, getting divorced, observing the separation period called ‘iddat’ and then coming back to him again.