The Centre on Friday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, saying the "validity of triple talaq and polygamy should be seen in light of gender justice". The government said there was no reason that women in India should be denied their constitutional rights, and that triple talaq, polygamy and nikaah halal "were not integral to the practices of Islam or essential religious practices."
The government argued that Muslim countries have "undergone extensive reforms", which means these practices are not central to the religion, even as conservative thinkers have been arguing otherwise. "It is noteworthy that even theocratic states have undergone reforms in this area of the law and therefore in a secular republic like India, there is no reason to deny women the right available under the constitution," the counsel for the Centre argued.
On September 5, the apex court had given the central government four weeks to respond to a batch of petitions on the rights of Muslim women that challenged the practice of triple talaq. The additional solicitor general had sought more time for the Centre to file a response in the matter after the court issued it a notice earlier. The issue was brought up before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur.
In the past, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board had faced criticism from activists for saying that while it was the "least appreciated" means of divorce, triple talaq was permitted under the Shariat, or Muslim personal law. In an affidavit submitted before the top court, the board had also said that the Supreme Court did not have the right to decide on the validity of the triple talaq practice, and that "personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms".
The apex court is hearing a number of petitions against the the traditional practice of triple talaq, which has been challenged by Muslim women from across the country. It was supposed to examine the validity of the Islamic rule, verify whether it violated the fundamental rights of Muslim women and come out with a verdict on Tuesday, September 6.