Millennium Post

Triple talaq not integral part of Islam, Centre tells Supreme Court

Triple talaq is neither integral to Islam nor a "majority versus minority" issue but rather an "intra-community tussle" between Muslim men and deprived women, the Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in his rebuttal to the arguments favouring the 1,400-year-old practice of triple talaq, made a strong pitch for judicial scrutiny on grounds including violation of fundamental rights like the right to equality and gender justice and said that the apex court cannot shy away.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar asked the Centre as to why it did not legislate to regulate marriages and divorce among Muslims.

"You (Centre) said if court quashes triple talaq then you will make a law but why the government did not make a law for last 60 years?" the bench, also comprising justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, asked.

Earlier, the AIMPLB, through its lawyer Kapil Sibal, said challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq, or instant oral divorce could lead to a backlash in the Muslim community, which might see its rights as being infringed upon and therefore resort to supporting practices like polygamy and oral divorce. As it is, triple talaq is practised by a "minuscule portion" of the Muslim community, Sibal pointed out.

Sibal added that the Muslim community's faith in the Supreme Court for the last 67 years is fundamental and that it is this faith that makes the country vibrant.

On Wednesday the Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar asked whether the AIMPLB can issue a directive to clerics to record at the time of the nikahnama, or marriage contract, whether the woman accepts triple talaq or not.

Sibal said the Muslim law board will respond to this after talking to all board members.

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