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Muslim Law of Divorce ‘Triple Talaq’ is Sinful and Undesirable but can be permissible if not misused, AIMPLB tells Supreme Court

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New Delhi, May 16, 2017: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that triple talaq was a “sin and undesirable” act, but still permissible and efforts are on to educate the community against its misuse.

Asking the court not to interfere with triple talaq as it was also a matter of faith which the community has practised for 1,400 years since the birth of Islam, senior counsel Yusuf Hatim Muchchala said that though permissible, triple talaq “is a sin and undesirable act, we are trying to educate people” but “it will take some time”.

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Muchchala, who is also a member of the AIPMLB’s Executive Committee, made his suggestion to the five judge constitution bench in response to a question from it as to why triple talaq was excluded from the ‘Nikah Nama’ and why ‘talaq ahasan’ and ‘hasan’ alone are included.

Drawing a parallel, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, also appearing for AIMPLB, said that as some people believe that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya and it was a matter of faith and could not be adjudicated, similarly Muslim personal law too was a matter of faith and the court should be shy from stepping in.

Sibal was addressing the constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq.

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The matter is rooted in October 16, 2015 order of the SC, directing separate listing of a PIL addressing the question of the rights of Muslim women.

As Sibal stressed on the point that personal law was a matter of faith and court should not step in, Justice Joseph said: “May be. (But) now some women have come to us for justice after 1,400 years.”

Telling the bench that ripple talaq is not something that “we can do with flourish”, Sibal said: “Personal law is drawn from Quran, Hadith and triple talaq is 1,400 years old. Who are we to say it is un-Islamic. It is not a question of good conscience or morality but a question of faith. It is not a question of constitutional morality.”

Telling the court that it had no role in the matter of Muslim personal law, and “parliament alone can decide what to do”, Sibal took a dig at Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi telling the court on Monday that it should strike down the all three forms of talaq amongst Muslims and centre would enact a new divorce law.

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“For the first time you are with us”, Chief Justice Khehar said as Sibal said that the government could not ask the apex court to first strike down all three practices of talaq, then it will enact a law.

Citing the 1937 Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, he said it was not an attempt to codify Muslim personal law and its “essential purpose” was to ensure that all those customs and practices which were contrary to Islam but being followed by those who embraced Islam should be discontinued and declared contrary to Islam.

Referring to Hindu Code where exceptions were carved out for protection of customs and practices, Sibal said: “You can’t say that all personal laws are protected but Muslim personal law was subject to fundamental rights.”

Similarly he referred to Dowry Prohibition Act, which while abolishing dowry, permitted gifts.

“Faith can’t be interpreted in the courts of law,” Sibal said, adding that we “enter into very very complex world where we will have to travel 1,400 years back in history to discover what is wrong and what is right”.

“I believe it so. This is my faith for 1,400 years. You can’t determine that my faith be so. You can’t test my faith on higher principles,” he said.

Saying that the diversity of India has to be nurtured and not ridden over roughshod, Sibal referred to the Constitution’s Article 371 which provides for special provisions in respect of different states and laws in respect of them can’t be made without their consent.

Hearing will continue on Wednesday. (IANS)

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)