The Supreme Court on Thursday said a five-judge constitution bench would sit in May to decide on pleas relating to aspects of triple talaq. The apex court will also frame issues on March 30 regarding triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy in Muslims for consideration. “Triple talaq is an important issue, it can’t be scuttled,” observed the SC.
Referring to the legal issues framed by the Centre, it said all of them relate to the constitutional issues and needed to be dealt by a larger bench. The bench asked the parties concerned to file their respective written submissions, running not beyond 15 pages, by the next date of hearing, besides the common paper book of case laws to be relied upon by them during the hearing to avoid duplicity.
When a woman lawyer referred to the fate of the apex court judgement in the famous Shah Bano case, the bench said “there are always two sides in a case. We have been deciding cases for last 40 years. We have to go by the law and we would not go beyond the law.” The bench also made it clear that it is willing to sit on Saturdays and Sundays to decide on the issue as it was very important.
Clarifying its stand on Wednesday, the apex court had said it would decide issues pertaining to only the legal aspects of the practices of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims but would not be debating the Uniform Civil Code. “We will not be debating Uniform Civil Code,” said a bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, while rejecting an attempt by a lawyer to raise the issue. “We are not interested in facts, only in the propositions of law,” he said.
The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud added: “This could be a human rights issue… you (lawyers for parties) sit together and finalise the issues to be deliberated upon by us. We are listing it day after tomorrow for deciding the issues.” The bench observed that the question whether divorce under Muslim Personal Law needs to be supervised by either courts or by a court-supervised institutional arbitration falls under the legislative domain. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), however, had rubbished the stand taken by the government that the apex court should re-look these practices as they are violative of fundamental rights like gender equality and the ethos of secularism, a key part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
(With ENS and PTI inputs)
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