Triple talaq related to social evils: Centre

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A vacation Bench of the Supreme Court continues to hear the challenge to the Islamic practices of Talaq-e-Biddat and Nikah Halala this week. The important matter related to a particular community will be urged today by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

"If Your Lordships strike down all three forms of talaq, I (the Centre) will bring a law", Mr. Rohatgi replied to that.

On Friday, lawyer Farha Faiz, who is opposing Triple Talaq in the SC, alleged that Muslim clerics were running a parallel judicial system like the trial courts and the high courts and the clerics were forcing Muslims not to go to the courts.

Former Minister Arif Khan stated that the practice, far from being fundamental to Islam, violates the Quranic mandate.

Sibal told a bench, also comprising Justices Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, that there was a difference between personal law and customs and usage.

"Matters of personal law have no relation with religion".

He argued that Article 25 (freedom of religion) was subservient to Part III of the Constitution that deals with fundamental rights. "It violates the rights of Muslim women", ruled the high court, adding that no personal law board was above the Constitution.

But even personal laws must not flout the Constitution, which grants equal rights to all, the Centre told a bench that's examining the legality of triple talaq - under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by saying "Talaq" thrice.

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

In Islamic law, a divorced woman has to wait during the "iddat" period for about three months before she can remarry.

Responding to the judges' question on what would the government do if triple talaq is declared unlawful, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government will frame a new law.

Rohatgi said the court should not close its door for adopting a reformist approach like even when there was no law on sexual harrassment at work place, it formulated guidelines or even suggest enacting of a law.

The apex court has fixed a six-day schedule for hearing, in which three days are available for those challenging triple talaq and three days for those defending it. "It's a matter of faith", Sibal told the apex court bench.

Earlier on Monday the top court had said it was keeping open the issues of practice of polygamy and "nikah halala" among Muslims for adjudication in future.

The Centre, on May 11, told the apex court that it opposes the triple talaq practice and wants to fight for women equality and gender justice.