Triple talaq practiced for 1400 years, how is it unconstitutional: AIMPLB

India's top court on Thursday began examining whether it was legal for a Muslim man to dump his wife by saying "I divorce you" three times, raising hopes among women campaigners of a long-awaited end to the "quickie" divorce.

Opposing the plea of seven aggrieved Muslim women who wanted the SC to scrap the practice, AIMPLB had said Constitution does not touch upon personal laws and therefore the apex court too can not adjudicate on issues such as marriage, divorce and maintenance.

Supporting the stance of ending the practice of triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court had earlier asserted that the rights of any person, including Muslim women, can not be violated in the name of "personal law".

But even when it expires, making the divorce official, the couple can remarry, unless he declares it again, known as "triple talaq".

Sibal urged that laws like Hindu Marriage Act are for the majority community.

Jaising has argued in court that personal laws must stand scrutiny of constitutional rights and must be subjected to Part III of the Constitution, that's enforced by the state, and therefore, subject to Articles 14 and 15 which ensure right to equality and prohibition of discrimination under the eyes of the law. Shariat is personal law and it in no way comes under Article 13 of the Constitution. It is a contract between two consenting adults and so is divorce.

Nonetheless, the top court said that they have restricted time, so every one of the matters couldn't be secured at present. "Hence, there was no question of constitutional morality and equity", he said.

"One half of a community in the country has to suffer inequality from their male counterpart".

Rohatgi replied: "Constitutional morality has to prevail".

To this, the bench observed if the government wanted social welfare and reforms, why can't it bring laws to correct the wrong.

In December a year ago, the Allahabad High Court named the Islamic routine with regards to separating a lady by expressing "talaq" thrice "unlawful". It has not been done. Will the Supreme Court strike down Hindu law?

He said even if triple talaq is considered as an essential part of religion and falls under Article 25, the practice still has to be constitutionally moral.

The CJI told the AG, "We (court) are guardians of fundamental rights as well as minority rights".

Chief Justice of India asked that is e-talaq also there in existence.

"The Central Government makes rules but in my opinion the apex court should not interfere into it", Sibal said.

"All patriarchal socities are partial". Muslims are practising it for the past 1,400 years. There are so many customs in Himachal Pradesh which are not in accordance with Hindu law.

"Instant divorce is a practice in many countries".

On Friday, the bench called the practice of triple talaq the "worst" and "not desirable" form of dissolution of marriages among Muslims.

The Board had even taken a freaky ground that if triple talaq was discontinued, a Muslim husband may even murder his wife to get rid of her. "The foremost thing is the essence of Quran which is the principal thing", he said.

At the outset, the apex court said it was keeping open for adjudication in future, the issues of polygamy and "nikah halala" among Muslims, while the Centre insisted deliberations on these aspects as well.

The Centre had on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it would bring a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if the court held triple talaq invalid and unconstitutional. Nikah halala allows a woman to go back to her husband but only after she marries another man, consummates the marriage and gets a divorce. "All these three issues are before this court by virtue of the reference order of the two-judge bench", Rohatgi said.

  • Marlene Weaver