Millennium Post

Centre will come up with divorce law for Muslims if SC strikes down triple talaq: Govt to top court

The government will bring in a divorce law for Muslims to fill a legal gap if the Supreme Court strikes down triple talaq, which is now the only way men from the community can end a marriage, the country's top law officer said on Monday.

Attorney general Mukul Rohtagi said while Islamic countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan were moving towards reforms India was still debating the controversial divorce practice.

The Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the Islamic custom that allows a man to end his marriage by uttering the world talaq (I divorce you) thrice in a succession.

The top court said it was keeping open for adjudication in the future issues of polygamy and 'nikah halala' among Muslims as the Centre insisted deliberations on these aspects as well.

"It may not be possible to deal with all the three issues in the limited time we have. We will keep them pending for the future," a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by chief justice JS Khehar, said.

The observation was made when attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, said issues of polygamy and 'nikah halala' were also part of the order of a two-judge bench that had referred to the Constitutional bench the three issues, including the practice of triple talaq among Muslims.

"The scope of referring had all the three issues that was divorce, nikah halala, polygamy. All these three issues are before this court by virtue of the reference order of the two- judge bench," Rohatgi said.

The Centre's assertion assumes significance in the backdrop of the remarks of the apex court that it will only deal with the issue of triple talaq, that too if it was fundamental to Islam.

The AG asked the bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer to make it clear that the issues of polygamy and 'nikah halala' are still open and will be dealt by other bench in future.

"It will be dealt in the future," the bench clarified. The bench is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq among Muslims. The Centre has resumed its arguments in the case on Monday.

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