Declare triple talaq, polygamy unconstitutional: Centre to SC

NEW DELHI: A month before the Constitution Bench hearing on petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala, the Centre on Monday requested the Supreme Court to declare these practices unconstitutional as they violated Muslim women''s fundamental right to live with dignity — a right available to women of other religions in India.

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 10

A month before the Constitution Bench hearing on petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala, the Centre on Monday requested the Supreme Court to declare these practices unconstitutional as they violated Muslim women's fundamental right to live with dignity — a right available to women of other religions in India.

In its written submission placed before the top court, the NDA government said neither triple talaq nor polygamy practised in the Muslim community in India was sanctioned by Islam.

A five-judge constitution Bench is to take up petitions filed by Muslim women and organisations against these discriminatory practices from May 11 during the ensuing summer vacation.

The SC — which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala — has already made it clear that it would not look into the Uniform Civil Code, which is currently being examined by the Law Commission.

There are separate sets of personal laws in India for each religion governing marriage, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance. Hindu law has substantially changed since the 1950s; activists complain that Muslim law has hardly been reformed.

The Centre said the Constitutional protection of right to religion guaranteed under Article 25 was not absolute as these practices violated right to equality and right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 14 and Article 21.

Gender equality, gender equity and gender justice are values intrinsically entwined in the guarantee of equality under Article 14 as such equality of all women in the country was "non-negotiable."

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