Defending the Centre’s opposition on the triple talaq system, Union Electronic and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday asserted that in a secular nation like India, women cannot be allowed to suffer under such an arbitrary and derogatory system. Listing out the Centre’s three-fold stand which was given in response to the Supreme Court over certain petitions filed by Muslim women, Prasad told ANI that firstly, the issue concerns only and only about the dignity, non-discrimination of women, respect to them and gender justice and India being a secular country governed by a constitution, the abiding values of its constitution about gender justice, dignity of women needs to be respected.
“The second is, India is a secular country. Secularism is a basic structure of the Constitution. Can we, where we have got a secular India, allow the women to suffer a kind of a system which is derogatory and arbitrary?” he said. Illuminating the third point, the Union Minister mentioned that in more than a dozen Islamic countries ranging from Bangladesh to Syria and even Pakistan, matrimonial laws have been regulated by law including triple talaq.
“If in acknowledged Islamic countries, change of matrimonial laws is not found to be violating Sharia, how can such a plea be raised in a secular country like India?,” he said. On Friday, the Centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Triple Talaq and polygamy validity. According to the affidavit, the Centre said that there is no reason women in India should be denied their constitutional rights.
“Validity of Triple Talaq and polygamy have to be seen in light of gender justice, equality and dignity of women,” stated the Centre in its affidavit. The Government also said that polygamy and triple talaq do not adhere to constitutional values and, therefore, cannot be accepted. The Muslim law board had earlier claimed that triple talaq is a ‘personal law’ and, hence, cannot be modified by the Centre.