Today is the fourth day of the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and "nikah halala" which is going on before a bench comprising members of different religious communities including Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim. "The issues will remain open", Chief Justice JS Khehar has said, indicating the possibility of examining them at a later date.
Supporting his stance, Shaista Amber, President of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) said Muslim Personal law was a way of life, and those misusing its teachings should be punished.
Even theocratic states have undergone reform in this area of the law and therefore in a secular republic like India there is no reason to deny women the rights available under the Constitution, he said.
Earlier, the matter had already been opposed by the centre on may 11 in which he told the apex court that it opposes the triple talaq practice and want to fight for women equality and gender justice.
Relentless debates on the validity and plausibility of this practice were instigated soon after one petitioner, Shayara Banu, challenged the Muslim personal law over instantaneous application of triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat), polygamy and nikah-halala.
The court has said that it would only look into the triple talaq issue for now.
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"If we accept that giving unfettered rights to a husband is bad and we strike down triple talaq, then where will Muslim men go for divorce", asked justice Uday Umesh Lalit who, along with the CJI, justice Kurian Joseph, justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and justice S. Abdul Nazeer are on the constitution bench. "Just like how the Hindu Marriage Act exists, there should be a Muslim Marriage law as well", added Shaista.
To this, Chief Justice Khehar reacted that "tenets of religion can neither be tested on scientific grounds or on other grounds". The Supreme Court asked for details of how the practices are followed in Islamic nations.
Rohatgi said the instant talaq was unconstitutional under Article 13 (laws, customs, practices in derogation of fundamental rights), 14 (equality) 15 (prohibition against discrimination) and 21 (life and liberty).
The Muslim law board, which is being represented by former union minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal has argued that it is not triple talaq that's at fault.
The bench insisted that the government has to prove that this practice of triple talaq was not essential to Islam and only then can it delve further into other aspects.
However, some men have previously skipped the notice period by performing what is known as "triple talaq" in one sitting, which makes the split instantaneous.