New Delhi: Backing triple talaq, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Friday, saying the court can’t interfere in religious freedom and personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms.
Triple talaq (Talaq-e-bidat) is a Muslim man divorcing his wife by pronouncing more than one talaq in a single tuhr (the period between two menstruations), or in a tuhr after coitus, or pronouncing an irrevocable instantaneous divorce at one go (unilateral triple-talaq).
Nikah halala refers to the marriage of a woman with another man who subsequently divorces her so that her previous husband can remarry her.
Submitting its response in connection with the ongoing matter on 'triple talaq', the Muslim body said, “Personal laws cannot be challenged as violative of Part III of the Constitution.”
"When serious discords develop in a marriage and husband wants to get rid of wife, legal compulsions and time consuming judicial process....in extreme cases husband may resort to illegal criminal ways of getting rid of her by murdering her. In such situations Triple Talaq is a better recourse," the Muslim body told the apex court.
"Marriage is a contract in which both parties are not physically equal. Male is stronger and female is a weaker sex. Securing separation through Court takes a long time and deters prospects of remarriage," it added.
The Board further said that polygamy as a social practice is not for gratifying men's lust, but it is a social need.
"Muslim women have right to divorce under Khula practice. Issues of Muslim Personal Laware raised in the Supreme Courtare for Parliament for decide. The Uniform Civil code is a directive principle and not enforceable. The personal laws are protected by Article 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution as they are acts done in pursuance of a religion," it added.
The board stated that personal laws, which are based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India, can't be rewritten in the name of social reform and that the courts can't interfere in them. "Courts can't supplant their own interpretations," the board said.
“The Holy Quran and said scriptures don't fall within the expression of laws that can be challenged.”
Triple talaq has been challenged by a Muslim woman, who was divorced by her husband through a phone call from Dubai. She filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the Muslim practices of polygamy.
Petitioner 26-year-old Ishrat Jahan has sought a declaration from the court that Section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 was unconstitutional as it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 21 (life) and 25 (religion) of the Constitution "in so far as it seeks to recognise and validate talaq-e-bidat (triple talaq) as a valid form of divorce".
On June 29, the apex court had agreed to examine the issue and said that a divorce through 'triple talaq' among the Muslim community was a "very important matter affecting a large section of people", which has to be tested on the "touchstone of the constitutional framework".
The apex court had taken suo motu cognizance of the question whether Muslim women faced gender discrimination in cases of divorce or due to other marriages of their husbands and urged Chief Justice of India to set up a bench to examine the issue.
Subsequently, various other petitions including one by triple talaq victim Shayara Bano were filed challenging the age-old practice of 'triple talaq' among the Muslim community....