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If discriminatory Triple Talaq struck down, then new Divorce Law will come, Centre tells Supreme Court

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Muslim women in India are vulnerable and insecure due to the community's practice that lets Muslim men divorce their wives by saying the word "talaq (divorce) " according to women rights campaigners. (Photo: A. Pasricha/VOA)

New Delhi, May 15, 2017: The Central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that if the latter invalidates the men-centric triple talaq that is discriminatory to Muslim women, then it would bring a new divorce law that would be fair and equal to both men and women in the community.

As Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued against triple talaq and stressed the need to strike it down, the five judges constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar asked him if this is done, then what will happen to Muslim men who went to end their marriage.

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“If we accept that giving unfettered rights to a husband is bad and we strike down triple talaq, then where will Muslim men go for divorce,” asked Justice Uday Umesh Lalit who, along with the CJI, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer are on the constitution bench.

Without losing a moment, Rohatgi told the bench that if they strike down the all three – triple talaq, Nikah Halala and polygamy, then the government will bring a new law.

At this, Chief Justice Khehar said that the top court was not just the “guardian to the Constitution but also that of the Minorities Act.”

At the outset of the hearing, the Attorney General urged the court to examine not just the validity of the triple talaq vis-a-vis the Constitution but also that of the Nikah Halal and polygamy.

Citing the limited time that is available, the bench said that as of now it would focus on the validity of triple talaq, leaving other two issues for the future.

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Appearing for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, senior counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench that the “issue is not talaq, the issue is patriarchy” or a state of society which is inherently discriminatory of this or that religion.

Describing the issue as “highly complex” which can’t be resolved easily, he referred to Hindu Code under which customs are still protected, noting that even under 2006 Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, a father can bequeath his entire property to his son without giving anything to his daughter.

Noting that the Constitutions protects personal laws and all patriarchal societies are discriminatory, Sibal said that all laws that applies to Hindus, Muslims, and other religions must be tested on the grounds of discrimination.

Representing the government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that Islamic practices as practised in India were not “pure Islam” but an “anglicised” form of the religion. (IANS)

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Acting United States Attorney General Matt Whitaker speaks before introducing President Donald Trump at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 7, 2018. VOA

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday stayed out of the fight over whether President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general is unlawful by rejecting a motion relating to the matter filed in a pending case.

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Then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker is pictured before a televised debate in Johnston, Iowa. VOA

The court turned away the request made by Barry Michaels, a criminal defendant in a federal case whose lawyers challenged Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, being named in court papers as the acting attorney general after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7.

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The court in a brief order also declined to hear Michaels’ appeal in the underlying firearms-related criminal case. (VOA)