In a significant development, over a million Muslims from across India, have called for the end of controversial divorce practice of triple talaq.
A petition started by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an Islamic organisation affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), calling for the abolition of triple talaq, has received signatures of more over a million Muslims from across India with women in majority.
Several women have filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking the quashing of the triple talaq practice.
While calling for the ban of triple talaq, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently termed it as a “pernicious social practice” that has been “banned or restricted” in many Islamic countries.
The top court has been urged to spell out whether practice of ‘talaq-e-bidat’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy were compatible with India’s obligations under the international treaties and covenants to which it is a signatory.
The government had cited the instances of changes in marriage laws in Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The Centre also urged the court to examine whether Article 25 (1) was subject to Part III of the Constitution spelling out the Fundamental Rights, particularly the right to equality before law and protection of life and personal liberty.
‘Nikah halala’ means a man cannot remarry a woman after triple talaq unless she has already consummated her marriage with another man and then her new husband dies or divorces her.
Ministry of Law and Justice had referred to constitutional principles like gender equality, secularism, international covenants, religious practices and marital law prevalent in various Islamic countries.
Responding to a batch of petitions including the one filed by Shayaro Bano challenging the validity of such practices among Muslims, the Centre had first dealt with the right of gender equality under the Constitution.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board, however, had rubbished the stand taken by the Narendra Modi government that the apex court should re-look these practices as they are violative of fundamental rights like gender equality and the ethos of secularism, a key part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
Another prominent Islamic organisation Jamiat Ulema-i- Hind had told the court there is no scope for interference with the Muslim Personal Law in which triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy are well rooted and stand on much higher pedestal as compared to other customs.