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New Divorce Law Can Replace Triple Talaq, Center Tells Supreme Court

New Divorce Law Can Replace Triple Talaq, Center Tells Supreme Court

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, India's top law officer, made this submission after a five-judge constitution bench asked him about the remedies for Muslim men if triple talaq was struck down.

The apex court began the hearing on a batch of cases challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq, nikah, halala and polygamy practices among Muslims.

Earlier in the hearing, the apex court refused to hear all the three cases of Polygamy, Nikah and Halala at once, saying it will focus on one matter at a time.

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday resumed hearings in the triple talaq matter brought before it by a bunch of petitioners opposing the practice.

The Bench has to test them on the touchstone of the fundamental rights of gender equality, gender justice, gender discrimination, human rights, and dignity under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 51A of the Constitution.

"As per Islamic law, the female can not remarry during "iddat" period and any marriage taking place during "Iddat" period can not be termed as valid marriage", he said, adding that the woman got divorced from her first husband on October 4, 2012 and the second nikah was performed two days later. Who are we to say that this is un-Islamic.

"There was a discussion that whether Triple Talaq is valid constitutionally.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. "However I should not be compelled to do it", Sibal told the court.

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The Bench, however, said the question whether polygamy and nikah halala violate the dignity of Muslim women would continue to remain open before the Constitution Bench.

The court additionally watched that triple talaq authorised under Muslim Personal Law that represents marriage, property and separation damages the privileges of Muslim ladies.

He also drew an analogy between Triple Talaq and the Hindu belief that the god Ram was born in Ayodhya. "Is it a question to be decided on constitutional morality...but when it comes to triple talaq, the question of constitutional morality is raised". The national Law Commission previous year sought public views on whether to abolish the practice, triggering a debate between politicians and religious leaders. He also reiterated that triple talaq was a "non-issue" which does not require judicial scrutiny.

The AIMPLB counsel said the age-old practice was "part of my faith and you can not determine what should be my faith".

"Triple talaq is unconstitutional".

The bench insisted that the government has to prove that this practice of triple talaq was not essential to Islam and only then can it delve further into other aspects.

"Most of the Muslim countries have declared it invalid and Muslim women have been raising their voice in India too against triple talaq", he told reporters here on the sidelines of an event.

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