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Triple talaq: 5 judges of different faiths to hear plea on issue today

A special bench of the Supreme Court (SC) is all set to hear the final arguments on triple talaq today.

The five SC judges are from different faiths – CJI J S Khehar (Sikh), Justice Kurian Joseph (Christian), R F Nariman (Parsi), U U Lalit (Hindu) and Abdul Nazeer (Muslim). The five member bench has been selected keeping in mind every faith. The bench has been formed to give a holistic view of the sensitive issue.

However, this will not have any effect on the unanimous verdict that will be pronounced after hearing the details of the case. Though the judges belong to different faiths, they will have to base their judgement on the facts provided in the case.

The SC will be hearing a slew of petitions filed earlier to repeal the arbitrary practice. Seven petitions, including five separate writ petitions, will be heard. Pleas will be heard by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. These petitions have been filed by Muslim women who have battled against the existence of such a brutal practice.

The apex court had last month declared that it will be resolving the debate on triple talaq once and for all.

“Whatever this question of triple talaq is, it will be settled for good,” the SC said.

The SC has decided to hear the case during the summer vacations and had even suggested continuing the hearing on Saturdays and Sundays as well in order to decide the sensitive issues at a fast pace.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who will assist the bench will also examine to what extent the court can interfere in the Muslim personal laws if they are found to be violative of the fundamental rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution.

The apex court had on its own taken cognizance of the question whether Muslim women faced gender discrimination in the case of divorce or other marriages of their husbands.

The SC will examine the issue to give an authoritative pronouncement on the constitutional and legal validity of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy practices which prevail among the  Muslims.

The hearing holds significance as the Allahabad High Court in its verdict pronounced in the last week of April, had held the practice of triple talaq as ‘unilateral’ and ‘bad in law’.

The apex court on March 30 had said that the Muslim practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy are issues that are very important and involve sentiments and a constitution bench would hear the petitions from May 11.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which has been claiming that the issue relating to practices of polygamy, triple talaq and nikah halala cannot be re-written, also told the court to reject the pleas against triple talaq, saying that they are misconceived.

The government on October 7 had issued an affidavit in the SC officially opposing triple talaq. The government had stated that gender equality is non-negotiable;  polygamy and triple talaq do not adhere to constitutional values and therefore cannot be accepted.

 

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