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SC reserves verdict on triple talaq

 NEW DELHI, May 18 - The Supreme Court today asked Muslim bodies as to how a practice like triple talaq can be a matter of “faith” when they have been asserting that it is “patriarchal”, “bad in theology” and “sinful”.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar also reserved its verdict on a clutch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq among Muslims after hearing parties including the Centre, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board and various others for six days in summer vacation.

The court took note of repeated submissions of the AIMPLB and former Union minister and senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, who is assisting it in personal capacity, that triple talaq is not mentioned in holy Quran and is rather “sinful”, “irregular”, “patriarchal”, “bad in theology” and “undesirable”, but the court should not examine it.

“You (Khurshid) say it is sinful. How can a sinful practice be said to be a matter of faith... Has it (triple talaq) been going on consistently for 1,400 years? The answer is ‘yes’.

“Has it been going on in the world? The answer is ‘no’. The system itself says it is horrendous and bad,” the bench, also comprising justices Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, said.

The observations were made when Khurshid was advancing rejoinder arguments by emphasising that the practice was sinful and bad in theology which cannot be good in law. He, however, argued that the court should not examine it.

“That is why, what is sinful cannot be part of practice. If it is bad in theology, it cannot be accepted in law...What is morally wrong cannot be legally right. What is not fully moral, it cannot be legal,” the bench observed.

Senior advocate Amit Singh Chadha, appearing for Shayara Bano, one of the victims of triple talaq, started rebuttal arguments quoting AIMPLB’s stand that this is sinful and patriarchal practice and said this cannot be integral to Islam.

The patriarchal practice of triple talaq in a male-dominated community is not recognised by many schools of thought, he said, adding, “It is a bad, undesirable and sinful practice and violates constitutional guarantees of Muslim women.”

Asking the court not to resort to “hands off” policy, Chadha said judiciary was the only hope for people, opposed to it as Muslim bodies say it is bad, but be allowed to continue and the Centre says that it is undesirable, but it would not legislate. – PTI

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