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Supreme Court starts historic triple talaq hearing, may not debate polygamy

Supreme Court starts historic triple talaq hearing, may not debate polygamy
The Supreme Court of India on Thursday commenced its historic hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq and nikah halala among Muslims, saying it would first determine whether the practice is fundamental to Islam. A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, however, made it clear that the issue of polygamy among the Muslims may not be deliberated upon as it is not connected with the triple talaq issue.

"We will deal with the issue as to whether triple talaq is sacramental and whether it can be enforced as a Fundamental Right," the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, said while framing the issue to be deliberated upon. The apex court also said if it came to the conclusion that triple talaq is fundamental to religion, then it will not go into the question of its constitutional validity.

The bench said it will also deal with the aspect of whether triple talaq formed part of the enforceable Fundamental Right to practice religion under the Constitution. Senior advocate Amit Singh Chadha, appearing for Saira Bano, one of the petitioners in the case, initiated the arguments against the practice of triple talaq among Muslims and said this practice was not fundamental to Islam and hence can be done away with.

He also referred to the practices in the neighbouring Islamic countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh to buttress his plea that triple talaq is un-Islamic. The bench intervened and said it would like to peruse the prevalent laws in various Islamic countries on the issue.

Another senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for one of the petitioners, said in case of divorces being granted through extra-judicial mechanism, there should be a "judicial oversight" to deal with the consequences.

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