Triple Talaq: Matter to be decided by five-judge Constitution bench, rules Supreme Court

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New Delhi, Feb 16: A five-judge Constitution bench would be set up by the Supreme Court to hear and decide on a batch of petitions relating to the practice of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims.

A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar took on record three sets of issues framed by parties with regard to the cases and said the questions for consideration of the constitution bench would be decided on March 30.

The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D V Chandrachud, said “the issues are very important. These issues cannot be scuttled”.

Referring to the legal issues framed by the Centre, it said all of them relate to the constitutional issues and needed to be dealt by a larger bench.

The bench asked the parties concerned to file their respective written submissions, running not beyond 15 pages, by the next date of hearing, besides the common paper book of case laws to be relied upon by them during the hearing to avoid duplicity.

When a woman lawyer referred to the fate of the apex court judgement in the famous Shah Bano case, the bench said “there are always two sides in a case. We have been deciding cases for last 40 years. We have to go by the law and we would not go beyond the law.”

The bench also made it clear that it is willing to sit on Saturdays and Sundays to decide on the issue as it was very important.

The Supreme Court had on February 14 termed `triple talaq` as an issue of human rights, and said that it will not hear the petitions related to Uniform Civil Code along with it as it was a different matter altogether.

“It`s a matter of human rights, so we would deal with it properly,” the court said.

The apex court also said that it would pass an order and dispose off the petitions on May 11, regarding the validity of triple talaq case.

The observation was made by an apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar after hearing the plea filed by one Shayara Banu, who had moved the apex court challenging the validity of triple talaq.

Several women have filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking the quashing of the triple talaq practice.

The Central Government has also told the top court that it is against gender injustice and for equality between men and women under the Constitution.

One of the petitioner`s Shayara 38, stirred a hornet`s nest after she moved the Supreme Court to challenge the triple talaq under Muslim personal law, under which a man simply has to utter `talaq` thrice to divorce his wife.

Shayara has also challenged in the apex court the concept of `nikah-halal`, under which a woman must consummate another marriage in order to go back to her first husband if she wants to.

She also wants to outlaw polygamy within a Muslim marriage.

In December last year, the Allahabad High Court termed the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by uttering the word “talaq” thrice as unconstitutional.

The court further observed that the triple talaq practice sanctioned under Muslim Personal Law that governs marriage, property and divorce violates the rights of Muslim women.

“Triple talaq is unconstitutional, it violates the rights of Muslim women,” ruled the High Court, adding that no personal law board is above the Constitution.

However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has defended the practice, saying it is better to divorce a woman than kill her. The rights bestowed by religion can`t be questioned in a court of law, it said.

With ANI inputs

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