New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in a batch of petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq under Muslim personal law.
A five-judge constitution bench comprising chief justice J.S. Khehar, and justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton F. Nariman, U.U. Lalit and Abdul Nazeer heard the case for six days. The court had taken up the case on its own motion along with petitions filed by six Muslim women challenging triple talaq.
The government had assured the court that a new law will be brought in to regulate Muslim marriage and divorce if the court declares all forms of talaq as unconstitutional. Talaq is divorce initiated by a man.
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The government’s top law officer attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had asked the court to not draw a distinction between instant triple talaq or talaq-i-bidat (where divorce is complete when “talaq” is uttered three times in succession) and talaq ahasan, which requires a 90-day period of abstinence after the pronouncement, and talaq hasan, which requires a one-month-long abstinence gap between utterances.
It had also asked the court to examine the practices of nikah halala and polygamy but the court declined to address these issues at the moment. Nikah halala requires a female divorcee to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce to remarry her previous husband.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board in its concluding arguments asked the court not to interfere with personal laws but agreed that triple talaq is a practice not in sync with the times. “Triple talaq is a sin and Muslim women agree with this customary sin,” senior counsel Kapil Sibal who appeared for the board said.
Under the Constitution, Muslims and other minority religions are allowed to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil codes.