New Delhi: The government said in the Supreme Court on Wednesday that no religious practice can violate fundamental rights, as the apex court continued hearing pleas against the Muslim practice of triple talaq.

“Even core and essential religious practices cannot violate fundamental rights. What if a religion sanctions human sacrifice as an essential custom? Should the courts allow it," attorney general Mukul Rohatgi argued.

Muslim women are a minority within a minority religion, he said, arguing that triple talaq, which allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife by uttering the word talaq thrice, must be declared unconstitutional.

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A five-judge constitution bench comprising chief justice J.S. Khehar, and justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton F. Nariman, U.U. Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Muslim practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy under Muslim personal law. Nikah halala requires a female divorcee to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce to remarry her previous husband.

The apex court on Monday clarified that it will only examine the triple talaq practice and keep the remaining issues open.

The government had asked the court to examine all the issues and said it would bring in a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq is declared unconstitutional.

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Under the Constitution, Muslims and other minority religions are allowed to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil codes.

Earlier, the bench asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) whether a woman can be given the option of saying ‘no’ to triple talaq at the time of execution of ‘nikahnama’ (Islamic marriage contract).

The court is likely to conclude the hearing on Thursday.

PTI contributed to the story.

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