The government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if triple talaq is held invalid and unconstitutional by the court.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar “If the practice of instant divorce (triple talaq) is struck down by the court, then Centre will bring a law to regulate marriage and divorce among the Muslim community.”
Rohatgi’s submission came when the court asked him what are the remedies for a Muslim man to come out of a marriage if such practices are struck down.
Earlier in the day, the apex court bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, said it was keeping open the issues of practice of polygamy and nikah halala among Muslims for adjudication in future, as the Centre insisted on judicial deliberations on these aspects as well.
“It may not be possible to deal with all the three issues in the limited time we have. We will keep them pending for future,” the bench said.
The significant observation was made when Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, said the issues of polygamy and nikah halala were also part of the order of a two-judge bench, which had referred to the Constitution bench the three issues including the practice of triple talaq among Muslims.
“The scope of referring had all the three issues that was divorce, nikah halala, polygamy. All these three issues are before this court by virtue of the reference order of the two- judge bench,” Rohatgi said.
When the AG asked the bench to make it clear that the issues of polygamy and nikah halala are still open and would be dealt by other bench in future, the court clarified “it will be dealt in future.”
Today was the third day of the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala which is going on before a bench comprising members of different religious communities including Sikh, Christian, Parsee, Hindu and Muslim.
During the last hearing, the apex court had observed that triple talaq is the “worst” and “not a desirable” form of dissolution of marriage among the Muslims, even though there were schools of thought which called it “legal”.
The remark was made by the bench when senior lawyer Salman Khurshid referred to the various schools of thought and the stand of All India Muslim Personal Law Board that triple talaq was “abhorrent”, yet valid.
The hearing last Friday also saw two veterans, jurist Ram Jethmalani and former Union Minister and Islamic scholar Arif Mohammad Khan, coming out all guns blazing against the practice of triple talaq.
Advocate Farha Faiz, a petitioner in the case who is opposing the practice, had also alleged that Muslim clerics were running a parallel judicial system like the trial courts and the high courts and the clerics were forcing Muslims not to go to the courts.
“Point taken, you have raised a very valid and good point,” the bench had said.
The apex court has fixed a six-day schedule for hearing, in which three days are available for those challenging triple talaq and three days for those defending it.