In written submissions to the Supreme Court, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Monday said Islam was one of the first religions to give equal rights to women, and that triple talaq, nikaah halala and polygamy were all integral parts of the religion for Sunni Muslims. The board stressed that the practices were protected by the Constitutional right to practice and propagation of religion, The Indian Express reported.
Opposing petitions filed in the top court that challenge the Constitutional validity of triple talaq, it said the pleas were “not maintainable” as they were based on an “incorrect understanding” of Muslim personal law, Deccan Chronicle reported. The board further said it was misconception that Islam discriminated against women with regard to marriage and divorce. It has urged the court to not go by the example of other countries where courts have altered personal laws, saying such a move would violate democratic principles.
Earlier this week, millions of Muslims signed a petition started by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, seeking an end to the Islamic divorce practice. The MRM, which is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, believe that the response the petition received is linked with the Bharatiya Janata Patry’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh elections.
The Supreme Court has been hearing a number of petitions related to the triple talaq debate. The bench refused to club the subject of Uniform Civil Code with the Muslim personal law, saying they were two separate subjects. In October last year, the Centre had taken an official stand against triple talaq and polygamy and told the top court that gender equality was non-negotiable.
The next hearing in the matter is on March 30.