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Centre to oppose nikah halala in Supreme Court

The practice of ‘nikah halala’ allows a man to remarry his divorced wife. The government believes that the practice is against the principles of gender justice and had made its stand clear in the Supreme Court on the issue.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2018 23:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nikah halala,Supreme Court,Re-marriage
The legal validity of nikah halala will now be examined by the Supreme Court. A Constitution Bench of the top court will hear four petitions challenging the legal validity of the practice. (AP file photo)

The centre will reaffirm before the Supreme Court its opposition to the Muslim practice of nikah halala on grounds that it is against the concept of gender justice and misused, a senior government functionary said on Friday.

Nikah halala is a provision in Islamic law that allow a Muslim to remarry his divorced wife only after she marries another man and consummates the marriage with him.

In August last year, the SC banned as unconstitutional instant triple talaq,a practice under which a Muslim man was allowed to divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq” three times at one go. Shayara Bano, one of the petitioners in the case, had also challenged polygamy and nikha halala at that time, but the SC chose only to examine the practice of triple talaq.

The government had even at that time said in court that nikah halala was against the principles of gender justice. The top court said it would consider nikah halala and polygamy separately.

A fresh plea was filed in the Supreme Court in March to declare the practice of polygamy and nikah halala as unconstitutional. In April, the court asked the centre to respond to a plea.

The legal validity of nikah halala will now be examined by the Supreme Court after the summer vacation. A Constitution Bench of the top court will hear four petitions challenging the legal validity of the practice.

“The stand is the same ... the Union of India is opposed to the practice. It will be reflected in the Supreme Court,” the government functionary cited above said on condition of anonymity.

After the apex court declared triple talaq illegal, the government introduced a bill to make it a penal offence. The bill, passed by the Lok Sabha, is pending in the Rajya Sabha. It makes instant triple talaq illegal and punishable with up to three years in jail for the husband.

Several opposition parties are opposed to the provision. “The matter is before Parliament. Debate is the only way out. If the opposition has any suggestion, it can make it on the floor of the house. It cannot be discussed on the streets,” minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Under the draft law, instant triple talaq in any form -- spoken, in writing or through electronic means such as email, short messaging service and WhatsApp -- would be illegal and void.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill would only be applicable to instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e- biddat’. It empowers a woman to approach a magistrate to seek “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children. A woman can also seek the custody of minor children.

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 20:18 IST