Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would decide issues pertaining to “legal” aspects of the practices of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims and would not deal with the question whether divorce under Muslim law needs to be supervised by courts as it falls under the legislative domain. “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,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud said.
The bench made it clear to the parties concerned that it would not deal with the factual aspects of the particular case and would rather decide the legal issue.
“We are not interested with facts at all. We are only interested in dealing with the legal issue,” the bench said.
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The apex court said 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 court, meanwhile, allowed the lawyers to file small synopsis of cases pertaining to alleged victims of triple talaq. The Centre had earlier opposed the practice of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims and favoured a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism. The Ministry of Law and Justice referred to constitutional principles like gender equality, secularism, international covenants, religious practices and marital law prevalent in various Islamic countries.
Responding to a batch of petitions including the one filed by Shayaro Bano challenging the validity of such practices among Muslims, the Centre first dealt with the right of gender equality under the Constitution.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board, however, had rubbished the stand taken by the Narendra Modi 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.
Another prominent Islamic organisation Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind told the court there is no scope for interference with the Muslim Personal Law in which triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy are well rooted and stand on much higher pedestal as compared to other customs.