NEW DELHI: Emphasising the rights of women, the Centre is all set to oppose the age-old Islamic practice of triple talaq in the Supreme Court.
The Centre, which discussed the issue at length last week during an inter-ministerial meeting, made it clear that women’s rights are inalienable.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi met last week to deliberate on the government’s possible stand to be taken in the Supreme Court on the issue of Muslim practices of polygamy, triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) and ‘nikah halala’ (a practice where divorced women, in case they want to go back to their husbands, have to consummate a second marriage).
The Law Ministry will file its response on the issue in the apex court by the end of this month. “We shouldn’t approach it from (the prism) of uniform civil code. We need to talk in terms of rights of women. A woman’s rights are inalienable and according to the Constitution, she has to have the same rights as men. Every court decision has slowly been taking us to these uniform rights,” an official associated with drafting the reply said.
“The practice of triple talaq doesn’t exist even in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Only we have it,” he added.
Early this month, the Supreme Court gave the Centre four weeks to submit its reply to a batch of petitions on triple talaq.
The first among these pleas was filed by Shayara Bano from Uttarakhand who challenged the practices as unconstitutional. Two women divorced through triple talaq from Jaipur and Kolkata also approached the court. Their petitions and a number of supportive pleas filed by Muslim women’s organisations have all been bunched together.
Opposing these petitions in court are the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). The AIMPLB had told the apex court earlier this month that personal laws cannot be rewritten in the name of reforms and that the validity of Muslim personal law “cannot be tested” as it derives from the Quran.
Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which is also one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court, spearheaded a signature campaign earlier this year in which over 50,000 Muslim women and men participated and sought a ban on triple talaq.