Triple Talaq Case: 5 Supreme Court Judges of 5 Faiths Begin Hearings
At hearing on triple talaq, Supreme Court said polygamy among Muslims may not be part of deliberations.
Edited by Aloke Tikku | Updated: May 11, 2017
NEW DELHI: The country’s five seniormost judges, all of different faiths, began hearings on Thursday to determine if triple talaq, the practice of Muslim men getting instant divorce by saying “talaq” three times, was fundamental to religion but may not rule on polygamy among Muslims. The constitution bench of the Supreme Court is hearing seven petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the practice in the community; some complained of being divorced on Facebook and WhatsApp. Rather than ruling on individual cases, the court had decided to take a call on the legality of such practices. Once the court gives its verdict, it will be for the legislature to decide if the law should be changed.
At its first hearing today, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar who heads the bench, made it clear that the court would examine whether the practice of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion and if triple talaq was an “enforceable” fundamental right to practice religion by Muslims. The court, however, added that polygamy among Muslims may not be part of its deliberations since it is unrelated to triple talaq.
Setting the ground rules for the daily hearings, the court told both sides that they would get two days to present their arguments, and then one more day to rebut the other side’s arguments. “Each side can argue whatever they want but there should not be any repetition. They will only focus on the validity of triple talaq,” the bench said.
The bench comprises Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer.
Muslims are governed by the personal law that came into force in 1937. The NDA government has long argued that practices such as triple talaq violate fundamental rights of women. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked the community not to look at the practice that discriminated against women from a political prism, but gender discrimination.
The Muslim personal law board, however, contends that Muslim practices such as polygamy and triple talaq were matters of “legislative policy” that could not be interfered with by the judiciary.