BHOPAL: Nineteen days after the Supreme Court set aside the practice of Triple Talaq by a 3-2 verdict, a marathon meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) executive committee here Sunday failed to decide its course of action following the verdict.
The board, which debated the August 22 order for over four hours, decided to constitute a committee of experts which will examine the apex court's order to identify inconsistencies, if any, with Sharia, said board member Kamal Faruqui.
Briefing the media about the deliberations, Faruqui read out a press statement saying, "The board has passed a resolution to constitute the committee, which will also advise the method and process for undertaking large scale community reform programmes within the Islamic Sharia (Islah-e-Mashrah)."
Based on the report of the committee, the board will decide the future course of action on whether to challenge the court verdict through a review petition or not, said another AIMPLB member Dr Asma Zehra.
Faruqui, however, expressed the board's displeasure over the submissions of the central government before the SC in the case. "The government had laid bare its intention in the form of the attorney general's submissions in the apex court that all forms of dissolution of marriage without intervention of the court should be declared as unconstitutional.
"We record our displeasure and consider it an attack on the personal law of Muslims. This stand of the government is contrary to the protection guaranteed by the Constitution of India. We categorically state that the community cannot and shall not tolerate such an attack on the personal law of the Muslim community," said Faruqui.
While maintaining that the AIMPLB, as a representative body, respects the apex court's judgment, Faruqui said, "We reiterate that the sanctity of belief and practices in personal/matrimonial relationships in Islamic laws cannot be treated differently from the belief and practices in personal/matrimonial relationship by other citizens of India, who follow their own custom and practice."
He added that the board's position, as per the Sharia applicable to the four Sunni schools of thought, has been that Talaq-e-Biddat (Triple Talaq/instant talaq) is sinful, but valid. "For a long time, we've taken steps to discourage this practice through community reform programmes and issued Model Form of Nikahnama about two decades ago.
"Prior to the apex court verdict, we had already submitted to the Supreme Court that the board had passed a resolution on April 16, 2017, stating that those who indulge in Talaq-e-Biddat should be socially boycotted," said Faruqui.
"The board has also filed affidavit to this effect that it should advise all the Qazis, Imams and Maulvis that they should urge the bridegroom/man that in case of differences leading to Talaq, the bridegroom/man shall not pronounce three divorces in one sitting," he said.
Faruqui added that the board reiterates its commitment to carry forward the community's reform programmes on a larger scale. "The board has resolved to initiate various programmes at different levels to educate Muslim women and men on
Sharia and in this process, it shall take assistance from different organisations.
The board shall always stand for the protection of rights of Muslim women within Sharia. It has also resolved to take steps to ensure help to divorced women and shall urge the government to grant financial assistance to Wakf Boards for this purpose," said Faruqui.