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Triple talaq hearing begins: Supreme Court bench of 5 judges from 5 different religions to hear cases

The five-member bench of the Supreme Court of India on Thursday will hear the final arguments over the constitutionality of the Islamic practice of triple talaq. However, what will make the path-breaking event unique is the fact that the arguments will be heard by judges belonging to five different religions, reported The Asian Age.

Interestingly, the five-member bench, which is hearing the case while officially being on a summer break, comprises of Chief Justice JS Khehar (Sikh), Justice Kurian Joseph (Christian), Justice Rohinton Nariman (Parsi), Justice Uday Lalit (Hindu) and Justice Abdul Nazeer (Muslim), the report noted.

The bench will cumulatively hear seven petition relating to the issue of triple talaq, with the lead petition aptly titled "Quest for Equality vs Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind", The Times of India reported.

The report added that the lead petition is followed by six other petitions by Khuran Sunnath Society, Shayara Bano, Aafreen Rehman, Gulshan Parveen, Ishrat Jahan and Atiya Sabri.

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi will assist the bench which will also examine to what extent the court can interfere in the Muslim personal laws if they are found to be violative of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution.

The apex court had on its own taken cognizance of the question whether Muslim women faced gender discrimination in the event of divorce or due to other marriages of their husbands.

The top court will examine the issue to give an authoritative pronouncement on the constitutional and legal validity of 'triple talaq', 'nikah halala' and polygamy practices among Muslims.

The hearing holds importance as the Allahabad High Court in its verdict pronounced in the last week of April, had held the practice of triple talaq as unilateral and bad in law.

The High Court verdict had come while dismissing a petition filed by one Aaqil Jamil whose wife had filed a criminal complaint against him alleging that he had tortured her for dowry and when his demands were not met, he gave her triple talaq.

Anti-triple talaq activists hope favourable verdict

Activists from West Bengal under the banner of Joint Movement Committee, which has been campaigning for a ban on triple talaq and polygamy, on Tuesday exuded confidence that the Supreme Court verdict on the issue will be in their favour.

Syed Tanveer Nasreen, an activist and an academician from Kolkata, had said the constitutional rights of women, and gender equality should be ensured and divorce should take place in the court of law.

"It is a patriarchal practice which seeks to exploit the women in the name of religion. We have great faith in Khehar, who, we believe, will do justice and hold human rights above the sentiments of minorities," Nasreen had said.

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Questioning the locus standi of the Muslim Personal Law Board which has opposed the petitions filed in the SC, Osman Mallick, Convenor of the Joint Movement Committee, had said the board is just an NGO and holds no authority to comment on such issues on behalf of the entire Muslim community.

"The Sharia law directly hits the basic structure of the constitution as it does not believe in gender equality. If there has to be a talaq, let it come through the judicial process," Mallick said at a press conference in Kolkata.

Jamaat-e-Islami calls issue "unnecessary"

On 30 April, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind chief and All India Muslim Personal Law Board vice-president Sayed Jalaluddin Umri  had said the nationwide debate on the triple talaq issue was "unnecessary" and there will be no dispute if Muslims follow the Sharia law.

"There will be no dispute or discord if Muslims follow the Sharia law in true spirit with regard to the issues of marriage, divorce, inheritance, Mehar (right of a wife) and Nafqa (monthly stipend). The debate is unnecessary," he had said.

The Muslim personal law is "balanced and justified" and it helps and promotes healthy family traditions, the Jamat chief had told reporters in Patna.

Narendra Modi had asked for not politicising issue

On 29 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged Muslims not to view the triple talaq issue from a political perspective and expressed the confidence that efforts to end the practice would be led by "enlightened" members of the community.

At a function to mark the Basava Jayanti celebrations inhonour of Kannada philosopher Basaveswara, Modi referred to the 12th century reformer's movement against regressive practices to speak about triple talaq.

"I appeal to you not to view the triple talaq issue from a political perspective. Come out and find a solution. That solution will have its own majesty and generations will remember you," he said.

Modi had said that he hoped that "powerful people" would emerge from society and help "eradicate outdated practices and evolve modern systems".

 

With inputs from PTI

 

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Published Date: May 11, 2017 11:08 AM | Updated Date: May 11, 2017 12:52 PM

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