The Supreme Court said Thursday that it would examine whether the Islamic divorce practice of triple talaq ‘is fundamental to religion’ and whether it is part of enforceable fundamental right. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar is hearing a clutch of petitions seeking amendments in the Muslim Personal Law relating to triple talaq, a practice in which the husband can legally separate from his wife by uttering the word ‘talaq’ three times. The practice is opposed by women’s organisations across India who complain of abuse and exploitation by their husbands.
Apart from triple talaq, the top court will also hear petitions relating to polygamy and ‘nikah halala’, under which a divorced Muslim woman has to marry again, consummate the marriage and then break it if she wants to go back to her first husband. However, the court said the issue of practice of polygamy among Muslims may not be part of its deliberations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a recent meeting with Muslim leaders, exhorted the community to work towards initiating reform in the area. He asked people of the community not to see the practice through a political prism.
The practice of triple talaq is backed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board that argues that it is a valid way to end a marriage. It also opposes interference by the government and the courts in the Muslim Personal Law.