Marriage of Muslim woman during 'iddat' not void: Court

Geneva Matthews
May 16, 2017

The Centre insisted that all the three issues-triple talaq, polygamy, nikah halala-must be heard as the plea before the Supreme Court raises all the three questions.

Attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi told the court it was not an "ecclesiastical court" but a constitutional one that ought to decide cases on principles of law, morality and public order.

The Centre had earlier filed two affidavits in the apex court opposing such practices.

Former Minister Arif Khan stated that the practice, far from being fundamental to Islam, violates the Quranic mandate. "We will keep them pending for future", said a five-judge Constitution bench consisted by Justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, Abdul Nazeer and headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar. "Just like how the Hindu Marriage Act exists, there should be a Muslim Marriage law as well", added Shaista. Muslim women want their dignity, freedom to live without fear of triple talaq.

He argued that Article 25 (freedom of religion) was subservient to Part III of the Constitution that deals with fundamental rights. Do they enjoy similar rights compared to Muslim women in other countries?

Rohatgi's submission came when the court asked him what are the remedies for a Muslim man to come out of a marriage if such practices are struck down.

In December past year, the Allahabad High Court termed the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by uttering the word "talaq" thrice "unconstitutional".

Supporting his stance, Shaista Amber, President of the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) said Muslim Personal law was a way of life, and those misusing its teachings should be punished. "Why should the court intervene?", he said.

The Supreme Court will continue its hearing on the most timro triple talaq case today.

The SC made this remark when lawyer Salman Khurshid told the court that several Islamic schools of thought, including the one by All India Muslim Personal Law Board considered triple talaq as "abhorrent", yet valid.

Monday was the third day of the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and "nikah halala" which is going on before a bench comprising members of different religious communities including Sikh, Christian, Parsee, Hindu and Muslim.

Mr Rohatgi brought to the notice of the court that a large number of Muslim countries such as, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Indonesia, Egypt and Iran have undertaken significant reforms and have regulated divorce laws.

Appearing for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench that the "issue is not talaq, the issue is patriarchy" or a state of society which is inherently discriminatory of this or that religion. "It's a matter of faith", Sibal told the apex court bench.

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