Triple talaq not integral to Islam, Centre tells Indian S/Court

Frederick Owens
May 20, 2017

Senior Advocate Amit Singh Chadha, appearing for Shayara Bano, one of the victims of triple talaq, started rebuttal arguments quoting AIMPLB's stand that this is sinful and patriarchal practice and said this can not be integral to Islam. Apparently stating the contention that triple talaq is not sanctioned by the Koran, Sibal said, "you can not go to the Koran and decide what Islam is".

India's top court has spent six days examining the legality of the "triple talaq" practice, raising hopes among women campaigners of a long-awaited end to the "quickie" divorce that can leave women penniless and homeless. Faced with near-certain defeat in the Supreme Court, the AIMPLB has fallen back on the lamest of excuses, claiming that doing away with triple talaq will be viewed as an attempt to infringe on its personal law and could prompt a backlash within the Muslim community.

The Attorney General questioned Sibal's line of argument that the practice of Triple Talaq should not be abolished just because it's "1400 years old".

Sibal insisted that triple talaq is a part of personal laws of the community and gets protection from the court's scrutiny.

Mumbai-based Uzma Naheed, an AIMPLB member for years, has revealed the Board's past stonewalling of a crucial reform, days after it submitted to the Supreme Court that it was ready to include such a clause in the nikahnama for a talaq-e-tafweez, or "delegated divorce", to give women a right to pronounce talaq in all forms.

The Bench comprised of five judges from 5 different religions i.e. Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and Parsi. "But if there is a clash between your personal law practices and the fundamental rights of equality and dignity, your personal law practices should give way", Mr. Rohatgi replied. Also, by implication, triple talaq itself doesn't become extinct if a woman desires the provision.

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The Centre, during the earlier hearing, assured the apex court that it would come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if Triple Talaq is upheld as invalid. The contradiction wasn't lost to the SC which asked how God can ordain a "sinful practice".

CJI J S Khehar and Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit freely engaged the counsel seeking clarifications on doubts over religious practices and customs of the Muslim community, but Justice Nazeer had no question to ask.

"There was a discussion that whether triple talaq is valid constitutionally".

Lawyer Flavia Agnes, co-founder of the legal centre Majlis that works on women's rights, said while the focus was on the practice of triple talaq, the key issue was how women can be helped to ensure they know their economic and legal rights.

He said that Islam recognised both men and women as equal and unlike Christianity where it is women who take the blame, in Islam both husband and wife are held equally responsible.

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