On Thursday, the Supreme Court concluded the historic hearing in the triple talaq case but reserved its order. The top court was hearing a lot of petitions against triple talaq, polygamy and ‘nikah halala’. This case was heard by a five-member constitutional bench of the apex court, which also includes judges from different religious communities, including Parsi, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian. The apex court has been hearing on this issue through daily hearings since May 11.
Yesterday, the five-judge constitutional bench hearing the matter asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) that, is there any way to include in the marriage contract a provision that could allow the Muslim women to say no to triple talaq practice. On the other hand, at the final stages of the hearing, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said today that they are ready to issue an advisory to all qazis (Islamic jurists) to establish a women’s view on triple talaq and put it on the nikahnaama (contract of the Islamic marriage). “Can it be made possible to give an option to a wife that she can say that she was agreeable to or not agreeable to it (triple talaq)? Is it possible to pass a resolution to all ‘qazis’ to include this condition (giving a right to a woman to say ‘no’ to triple talaq) in ‘nikahnama’? Give an option to wife to say ‘no’ to triple talaq,” the five-judge bench headed by J S Khehar said.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) lawyer and former law minister Kapil Sibal repeated his earlier argument that how it is possible for the Supreme Court to get into the authority of religious beliefs and practices. Urging for a complete ban on the practice, the Centre said to the top Court that it was not “integral” to the practice of Islam. The Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench, “Essential means those practices which are fundamental to the practice of a religion, without which the super edifice of the religion would crumble. Triple talaq is optional.
Courts have said that what is optional cannot be essential or integral.” The bench, which includes Justices Kurien Joseph, U U Lalit, R F Nariman and Abdul Nazeer was hearing five petitions in which five were filed by Muslim women, challenging the practice of triple talaq, nikah halala, and polygamy. On Tuesday, Sibal said to the apex court that they should not interfere in the matter of the practice of one’s belief and faith. Sibal asked the apex court, “Triple talaq has been going for 1400 years, how can you say it is unconstitutional?”
The bench asked Sibal that how a tradition which is “theologically sinful” be part of the practice of any community to which Sibal said that testing the authority of traditions and practices of a community is a “slippery slope” and the top Court should not come into it.