S C verdict on tripe talaq: Dangerous signals ahead of personal laws

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Supreme Court in a majority judgment struck down the ‘triple talaq’ saying it is violative of the constitution. No doubt  the majority  judgment held the  supremacy of the  religious  book  of  the Muslim  community the  holy Quran but said that the  ‘triple talaq’ including  other practices of Muslim  Personal  Law which are violating the basic principle  of Quran could not be allowed. ‘Triple talaq’ has no reference whatsoever in the holy book of Quran and also there is hardly any evidence of this practice from the early period of Islam.  We published a comprehensive article on the subject by a member of our advisory board M B Siddiqui who elaborately discussed the issue.  The  Muslim  Personal Law Board , the  supreme religious body  of  Muslims  did  not  react to the  verdict. An important meeting of the board will be held on September 10 to ponder on the judgment. While some so-called  Muslim organizations to  which the  petitioners who approached  the  court belonged vociferously welcomed the judgment, other religious  Muslim  organizations including  Jamat-e-Islami were cautious to express their reactions. They are of the opinion that personal laws including Muslim Personal Law are beyond the purview of the apex court because the constitution guarantees freedom of religion.  If  the  courts are  allowed to review   the personal laws  to see  whether they conform the  principle  of equality guaranteed in  the  constitution, then  the provision of religious freedom will be diluted. The matter of any personal law that creates a controversy should better be left to that community. If the majority of that community wants to make any change, it is free to do it.  It is a real religious freedom.  Being a conglomeration of different religious and ethnic groups that form the vast population of the country, the constitution made a provision for religious freedom contrary to many other democratic countries where the will of the state has been thrust on the people. Thus ours is a model democracy of the world. With this verdict of the Supreme Court, this distinction is facing danger.

It is a coincidence, but there is a significance in this coincidence that the minority judgment was given by two judges belonging to the minority. The judgment given by Chief Justice of India Justice Khehar held that the instant talaq was the matter of religious faith which cannot be tested on the touchstone of Article 14. It should be the integral part of Article 25 that is freedom of religion. This judgment was endorsed by Justice S Abdul Nazeer. This minority judgment was countered by Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton Falli  Nariman and  U U Lalit. Here also two judges belong to the minority community. It was a wise formation of the bench, but the majority struck down the practice of the majority of the   Muslim community. The majority judgment also does not violate the supremacy of the holy Quran.

It was the bounden duty of our religious leaders to discourage the practice which was detested by the Prophet of Islam Hazrat Mohammad at most and which has no direct reference in the holy Quran, but these religious leaders gave more importance to the practice than to the spirit of the holy book. We are looking forward to the reaction of the Muslim Personal Law Board.

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