Triple talaq verdict: India committed to gender equality, SC says in minority judgement

New Delhi: India is committed to gender equality and eradication of discrimination on the basis of sex, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said in its minority verdict on the practice of triple talaq among Muslims.

The remarks were made in the minority judgement by Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice SA Nazeer while refusing to rely on the international conventions and declarations as it examined the issue of triple talaq, also known as talaq-e-biddat.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

"We have not the least doubt, that the Indian State is committed to gender equality. This is the clear mandate of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution. India is also committed to eradicate discrimination on the ground of sex. Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, prohibit any kind of discrimination on the basis of sex.

"There is, therefore, no reason or necessity while examining the issue of 'talaq-e-biddat', to fall back upon international conventions and declarations. The Indian Constitution itself provides for the same," the two judges said.

The counsel for Muslim women, who had moved the apex court seeking to set aside the practice of triple talaq, had submitted that the practice of 'talaq-e-biddat' was rendered impermissible, as soon as India accepted to be a signatory to international conventions and declarations, with which the practice was in clear conflict.

It was submitted that continuation of this practice sullied the image of the country internationally, as the nation was seen internationally as a defaulter of those conventions and declarations.

The two judges, however, said that the reason for which they were not acceding to the submissions with reference to international conventions and declarations, is based on Article 25 of the Constitution by which 'personal law' of all religious denominations is sought to be preserved.

"The protection of 'personal laws' of religious sections, is elevated to the stature of a fundamental right, as much as Article 25 of the Constitution, which affords such protection to 'personal law' is a part of Part III (Fundamental Rights) of the Constitution," the minority judgement said.

It further said while the Indian Constitution supported all conventions and declarations which call for gender equality, it preserves 'personal law' through which religious communities and denominations have governed themselves, as an exception.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2017 22:11 PM

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