In a significant development, the Allahabad High Court today termed the continuing Islamic practice of triple talaq as “unconstitutional” saying it violates the rights of the women.
“The ‘triple talaq’ is unconstitutional, it violates the rights of Muslim women,” the High Court was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“No Personal Law Board is above Constitution,” the news agency further reported quoting the HC.
The court made these observations while hearing two separate petitions filed in the court, media reports said.
The Muslim Personal law Board has announced to challenge the order in the upper court
In October, the Indian government in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court had ruled the practice of triple talaq by Muslims has no place in a secular country.
The constitution allows Muslims, the biggest religious minority group in the country, to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code.
The practice has been under examination by the Supreme Court for now.
According to reports, the apex court is also looking at how much it can interfere in Muslim laws governing family-related issues while hearing a plea to end the practice of triple talaq.
This practice permits Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying talaq thrice.
The move prompted strong protests from various Muslim bodies but the Narendra Modi government has announced not to change its position on the issue, citing the issue of gender equality and dignity of women in India.
“This is a well thought-out and considered view of the government in pursuit of gender equality and dignity of women,” Indian law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has been quoted as saying in the Indian media.
Prasad has said the practice of ‘triple talaq’ can’t be justified under the constitutional provisions saying gender justice, non-discrimination and dignity of woman are fundamentals of Constitutional values.
“Article 14 of the Constitution talks about right to equality, Article 15 says there shall be no discrimination on the ground of sex, Article 21 guarantees right to live with dignity and Article 15 (3) enables the state to make special provision for women and children. Against these principles, triple talaq cannot be justified,” the law minister said in his interview to the Hindustan Times in October this year.
Stating a big group of women can’t be allowed to suffer in a secular country like India, the minister said several Islamic countries such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran and even Pakistan have already made certain changes to regulate ‘triple talaq’ adding, just “Every discriminatory practice cannot be held integral to faith”.
“The makers of India (Constitution) had said India won’t be a theocratic state…It was said the state will have no religion. Freedom of religion and right to faith will be respected. Faith and practices are different. Every discriminatory practice cannot be held integral to faith,” the minister explained in his interview.