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Triple talaq not integral part of the religion: Centre in Supreme Court

The affidavit gave a list of 10 countries with sizeable Muslim population to argue that laws on polygamy and divorce there had been codified and were regulated accordingly.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: October 13, 2016 5:32 pm
triple talaq, triple talaq in india, SC triple talaq, Islam Triple talaq, islamic divorce, muslim divorce, what is triple talaq, invalid talaq, muslim women in india, divorce in islam, BJP, supreme court, Central government, SC, apex court, SC, Centre on triple talaq, India news, indian express news The Centre said these practices “cannot be regarded as essential or integral part of the religion”.

Stating that absence of reforms in the community in the last 65 years have left Muslim women “extremely vulnerable, both socially as well as financially”, the Centre on Friday impressed upon the Supreme Court to do away with the practice of polygamy and triple talaq. The Centre also said these practices “cannot be regarded as essential or integral part of the religion”.

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The affidavit, submitted by the Union Law Ministry in response to a clutch of petitions challenging polygamy and triple talaq, said that the validity of these practices required a “reconsideration” by the top court “in light of the principle of gender justice and overriding principle of non-discrimination, dignity and equality” as well as “evolution of women”.

The government maintained that triple talaq and polygamy impacted a woman’s status and her right to live with confidence and dignity, and added that they were not protected under Article 25 of the Constitution, which guaranteed immunity to practices essential or integral to the religion.

“Even theocratic states have undergone reform in this area of law and, therefore, in a secular republic like India, there is no reason to deny the rights available under the Constitution. The fact that Muslim countries where Islam is the State Religion have undergone extensive reforms goes to establish that the practices in question cannot be regarded as integral to practices of Islam,” it said.

The affidavit gave a list of 10 countries with sizeable Muslim population to argue that laws on polygamy and divorce there had been codified and were regulated accordingly.

Pointing out that personal laws were meant to preserve plurality and diversity, the ministry questioned whether preservation of diverse identities could be “a pretext for denying to women the status and gender equality”.

“Secularism being a hallmark of Indian democracy, no part of its citizenry ought to be denied access to fundamental rights, much less can a section of secular society be worse off than its counterparts in theocratic countries, many of which have undergone reform,” it said.

The ministry requested the court to reconsider the legal position settled by a judgment of the Bombay High Court in 1951, which had held that personal laws were absolutely immune and could not be struck down by the courts on the grounds of being inconsistent or in derogation of fundamental rights.

The ministry claimed that personal laws as well as customs and usage would come under the ambit of Article 13, which lays down that any law that impinges upon fundamental rights shall be void. The government pleaded that the practices of triple talaq and polygamy should be tested on the anvil of Article 13 after rectifying the “incorrect” precedent set by the High Court in 1951.

The affidavit said that although the 1951-judgment had upheld the validity of polygamy, it had also underscored the need for social reforms. It added that no reform had happened in the last 65 years and that women from the Muslim community remained extremely vulnerable.

“Even though it may be true that only some women are directly and actually affected by the practices of triple talaq and polygamy, the fact remains that every woman to whom the said law applies lives under the threat, fear or prospect of being subjected to these practices, which in turn impacts her status and her right to live with confidence and dignity,” it said.

“The practice of polygamy was regarded as progressive and path-breaking centuries ago but with the evolution of women and principle of gender justice, these required serious reconsideration… Even an affidavit by the Muslim Personal Law Board has referred to those practices as ‘undesirable’, which cannot be elevated to essential religious practice, much less one that forms the substratum of religion,” said the ministry, whose response will be examined by the court on October 18.

The Muslim Personal Law Board, in its reply to the petitions, had defended the validity of triple talaq saying that if the practice is discontinued, a man could murder or burn his wife alive to get rid of her.

“If there develops serious discord between the couple, and the husband does not at all want to live with her, legal compulsions of time-consuming separation proceedings and expenses may deter him from taking the legal course. In such instances, he may resort to illegal, criminal ways of murdering or burning her alive,” the AIMPLB’s affidavit had stated. The board had also said that divorce proceedings instead of triple talaq could damage a woman’s chances of re-marriage if the husband accuses her of loose character in court.

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  1. S
    Mar 7, 2017 at 8:12 am
    Both partners should have similar rights. If Muslim men want this right then the wife should also have the right to get divorced by saying the same three words.lt;br/gt;Muslim men can have unlimited wives subject to a naximum of four at any one time. This right should also be available to women.lt;br/gt;It is common knowledge that a man cannot satisfy one woman whereas a woman can satisfy many as is evident when a woman is gang raped.
    1. B
      Oct 8, 2016 at 5:13 am
      Common Civil Code equal for ALL Indians - pls roll it out
      1. A
        Amar Akbar
        Oct 7, 2016 at 7:33 pm
        A law that allows multiple wives is repressive inhuman and I am surprised people like Aamir Khan Shahruk Khan and all the so called elitist have not spoken against it. Gaaaandh Fattea hai unki to speak against a mullah. Even UN has banned multiple wives allowed by law. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;In 2000, the United Nations Human Rights Committee reported that polygamy violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), citing concerns that the lack of "equality of treatment with regard to the right to marry" meant that polygamy, restricted to polygyny in practice, violates the dignity of women and should be outlawed. Specifically, the reports to UN Committees have noted violations of the ICCPR due to these inequalities and reports to the General embly of the UN have recommended it be outlawed. Many Muslim states are not signatories of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia, Brunei, Oman, and South Sudan; therefore the UN treaty doesn't apply to these countries. It has been argued by the Department of Justice of Canada that polygyny is a violation of International Human Rights Law.
        1. P
          Oct 7, 2016 at 5:48 pm
          Brahmin potion is drastically dropping. That is why bugger Bagawat asks all Brahmins to have at least 5 children. The reason bugger Bagawat is a bachelor is, if he is married he can only manage to have a few children....(You can complete the rest of the sentence).
          1. S
            Oct 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm
            Beef provocation Muslimslt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Ghar Whapsi provocationlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Marathi only provocationlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Dadri provocationlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Rohi Vemula provocation of Dalits lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Now talak provocationlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;By Brahmin scoundrels!
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