SC asks Centre to file report on Muslim personal law

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2016 00:36 IST
The Supreme Court’s request came after a petition was filed challenging the constitutionality of Muslim marital practices, such as polygamy. (HT Photo)

The Supreme Court Monday asked the Centre to place a high-powered committee report that had in 2015 reportedly recommended ban on various practices such as triple talaq and polygamy among Muslims.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice UU Lalit said the report should be submitted within six weeks and told the Centre to also spell its stand on a plea seeking ban on the “regressive practices.” The court also allowed the National Commission for Women (NCW) to place its response too.

The order was passed on Shayara Bano’s petition, saying the ministry of women and child had in 2015 received the report but did not make it public. The report - “Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and succession” – suggested the amendment of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 to declare triple-talaq and polygamy void and provide interim maintenance to Muslim women.

In a similar case, where the SC itself decided to take up the issue of gender bias in the muslim personal law, the bench said it will hear All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) before delivering a final judgement. AIMPLB has filed an affidavit in the court, saying the SC cannot interfere with religious practices.

Bano wants the SC to quash the practice under which a muslim man can divorce his wife by pronouncing the word talaq thrice. She even wants the court to declare polygamy, allowing a man to marry four women simultaneously, illegal.

The third practice, under which a husband cannot take back his divorced wife until she marries again and gets divorced by the second husband, should also be held illegal, Bano has said.

The petition submitted that a number of Muslim women are being divorced even in the modern day world through Facebook, Skype and even mobile text messages thus wreaking havoc with the lives of thousands of Muslim women in the country.

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