Union ministers discuss govt’s stand on triple talaq, nikah halala to be taken in SC

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi discussed the issue during an hour-long meeting.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published:September 14, 2016 10:12 pm

A group of Union ministers on Wednesday deliberated on the government’s stand to be taken in the Supreme Court on the issue of Muslim practices of polygamy, triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) and nikah halala.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi discussed the issue during an hour-long meeting.

Sources said no final decision has been taken by the Group of Ministers (GoM) and it will deliberate the issue further before finalising the government’s stand to be taken in the apex court.

The development came after a Muslim woman, who was divorced by her husband through a phone call from Dubai, challenged the Muslim practices of polygamy, triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) and nikah halala, leading the Supreme Court to seek response from the Centre on her plea.

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.

While dealing with the plea of the 26-year-old woman from Kolkata whose husband divorced her by saying talaq thrice over telephone from Dubai, a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, had issued notice to the Ministry of Minority Affairs and others.

Petitioner 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”.

“My husband and his relatives are constantly attempting to drive me out of my matrimonial home,” Jahan had said, adding that her four children were also forcibly taken away from her.

“The petitioner does not have any support as her parents are residing in Bihar. She is surviving with her sister’s help. The police are also not making any effort to trace her children,” the petition said while seeking urgent directions from the court for her and her children’s protection.