Muslim women can opt out of triple talaq, AIMPLB tells SC

SC reserves verdict in triple talaq case

The board had earlier admitted triple talaq was "sinful and undesirable" but defended it, saying it had flourished for 1,400 years.

Mr Anand Grover summed up saying triple talaq is not found in Quran, that it was deprecated by the Prophet himself and was considered sinful by all schools of thought of Sunnis and Shias.

Citing equality before law and equal protection of law under Article 14, Jaising said that state is obliged not to recognise any discrimination between men and women on the grounds of religious beliefs and practices.

Mr. Giri also argued that unless there are statutory inroads into personal laws, the courts can not test or strike them down.

The triple talaq hearing on a batch of petitions filed by Muslim Women's Quest for Equlity and others was completed in six record days by the Constitution Bench sitting during summer vacations.

As he referred to the Vishakha guidelines that were framed by the top court to protect women at workplace in the absence of any law, Justice Kurian Joseph said that it was in the domain of a statute and not the Constitution.

The bench also questioned the AIMPLB on the position of e-divorce given on the WhatsApp in Islam. Rohatgi replied that the hallmark of a secular court was to reform without waiting for a legislation, when such matters come to it.

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Kapil Sibal, senior counsel representing AIMPLB, informed the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar that the Board had agreed to issue an advisory to kazis to give an option to Muslim women to opt out of instant triple talaq before giving their consent for nikah.

Noting that only practices fundamental to religion are protected under the Constitution, the Supreme Court asked Muslim bodies on Wednesday how instant talaq can be both an essential part of religion as well as 'sinful'.

On the second day of the hearing, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, who is the amicus curiae in the matter, said before the Supreme Court that the controversial Islamic divorce system can not be justified whatsoever.

The court had last Friday wondered how such a "sinful practice" can be taken as ordained by god and become a law. "Substantiating my view with reasons and examples, I asserted that it can not be justified and can not be given law's validation", Khurshid said during the hearing. "Can it be made possible to give an option to a wife that she can say that she was agreeable to or not agreeable to it (triple talaq)?".

"The Central Government makes rules but in my opinion, the apex court should not interfere with it", Sibal said.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in his rebuttal to the arguments favouring the 1,400 year-old practice of triple talaq, made a strong pitch for judicial scrutiny on grounds including violation of fundamental rights like right to equality and gender justice and said that the apex court can not shy away.

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