Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday asked parties to stop politicising triple talaq, saying the matter was was sub-judice. Triple talaq is not an “electorate issue” and it should not be linked “with elections and one particular religion,” Naidu said, according to ANI.
“There should not be any discrimination, harassment and injustice to any section of people, and more particularly women,” the minister said. “Be it Muslim, Hindu or Christian women, we don’t want anyone to get exploited.” Naidu said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre would present its view on triple talaq “when matter the comes up before the Supreme Court”.
Meanwhile, Law Commission chairperson BS Chauhan said a majority of those who responded to a questionnaire on a uniform civil code had opposed spontaneous triple talaq, The Indian Express reported. Chauhan said many Muslim organisations were among those which had opposed the practice, adding that the larger consensus held that the practice in its present form was not in accordance with Shariat norms, which call for a three-month period to resolve dispute.
However, Chauhan clarified that the Law Commission was looking at the overall issue of gender justice in the personal laws of all religions. “Most women still have no right to agricultural land. We will be looking at gender justice in all aspects of personal law,” he said. The Commission is currently examining more than 40,000 responses it received to the questionnaire issued in October 2016.
While the Supreme Court has been studying the constitutional validity of triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court had ruled in December 2016 that the practice was “cruel and demeaning”. On October 7, 2016, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that the “validity of triple talaq and polygamy should be seen in light of gender justice”, and that triple talaq, polygamy and nikaah halala “were not integral to the practices of Islam or essential religious practices”.
Several Muslim bodies, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, have defended the practice, arguing that the rights bestowed by religion can not be questioned in a court of law. There have also been calls to not politicise or communalise the debate and to view it as a separate matter from the proposed Uniform Civil Code.