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Indian Muslim board takes steps to dissuade men from triple talaq

The All India Muslim Personal Board will soon issue a circular that seek to persuade husbands from considering triple talaq, after coming under fire from the Supreme Court.

The cornered Muslim Board on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it has decided to issue a circular to all qazis across the country that while finalising ‘nikahnama’ (marriage contract) they must take an oath from the husband that he will not give triple talaq to his wife.

There will also be a provision in the nikahnama allowing the wife to say no to the triple talaq practice.

The announcement was made by Kapil Sibal, the lawyer representing the board before a five-judge constitution bench which is hearing petitions challenging the validity of triple talaq.

After hearing the petitions for six continuous days, the bench reserved its verdict.

Sibal’s statement comes a day after the bench questioned how the Muslim community could claim it was fundamental to the religion, when they themselves admitted it was ‘sinful’ and the ‘worst form of divorce’.

Picking up an Islamic religious text during the high-voltage hearing and reading it, Chief Justice J S Khehar said: ‘Somebody gave this book to us. It says Talaq-e-biddat is a deviation from the right path. And now this is read and re-read during every Friday afternoon prayers. So during every prayer you say triple talaq is bad, sinful.’

Earlier the CJI also questioned the claim of another lawyer that triple talaq was sacrosanct and court could not interfere asking: ‘You yourself say it is the worst kind of divorce, sinful then how can triple talaq be sacrosanct and fundamental to religion and if it is not fundamental to religion, article 25 (freedom of religion) and 26 (freedom to manage religious affairs) will not come in.’

The CJI then too perused a copy of Quran and told the advocate that triple talaq was ‘mentioned nowhere in the book’.

The bench had also asked why India cannot do away with triple talaq when it is banned in 20 out 22 Muslim countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

During Wednesday’s hearing, when Justice Kurian Joseph asked Sibal if ‘triple talaq was not theologically bad and sinful?’, he retorted, saying: ‘Lots of sinful things are happening in the society protected by customs’.

When Sibal said: ‘It may be bad, it may be sinful but women accept it’, a large number of women lawyers appearing for aggrieved women petitioners protested loudly saying: ‘No ..No…No’.

Sibal also said: ‘Your Lordship’s job is not sit in a Constitution Bench and decide what all are sinful in society’, adding: ‘Your lordship is sitting on a slippery slope as demands for banning many more practices will soon arises after the court allows this one. All these are not in the court’s domain. Please do not venture into it’.