Fri, Oct 28, 2016 | updated 01:50 PM IST

Triple talaq, Nikah Halala 'un-Quranic', must be abolished: Woman activist

Updated: Sep 02, 2016 19:52 IST
New Delhi/ Mumbai/Bengaluru[India], Sept. 2 (ANI): Zakia Somen, co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court seeking to ban triple talaq and Nikah Halala, on Friday said the process of divorcing women practiced in India should be abolished as it is "un-Quranic".

Her reactions came after the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a Muslim body governing personal affairs according to Islamic Law Code Shariat, filed an affidavit in the apex court, stating that "personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms".

Speaking to ANI, Somen said AIMPLB is a male-dominated patriarchal body, which does not believe in women equality and justice for women.

"We want triple talak to be abolished, because it is 'not Quranic' and it is not constitutional. The Quranic method of divorce is based on discussion of over a period of three months of attempt to reconciliation, attempt of mediation, failing which a divorce can happen. So triple talaq, as we are seeing today, is totally 'un-Quranic', that's why we want it to be abolished. The position that the personal law board has taken is not tenable as per the Constitution of India. Being Muslim women, they are entitled to Quranic justice, they are entitled to justice as citizen of India," she said.

She said Islam gives equal rights and equal justice to women and that is why they are fighting.

Echoing similar views, Javed Anand, a civil rights activist based in Mumbai, said the Muslim personal law board is a self constituted personal law body and cannot override fundamental rights in the name of religion, while pointing out that there are many Muslim countries where triple talaq and polygamy are banned.

"The Indian Constitution has given fundamental rights to all its citizens. Non-discrimination and gender justice are part of those fundamental rights. In the name of religion, you cannot override other fundamental rights, as has been pointed out by the Bombay High Court. In a judgment concerning the Haji Ali dargah, the court cited several Supreme Court (SC) judgments in the past, where the issue of what constitutes an integral and essential part of any religion and what does not constitute," Anand said.

"There are number of Muslim countries, where triple talaq is banned, polygamy is banned or severely retracted, hala practices have been declared unconstitutional, so it could be Muslims personal law boar's point of view," he added.

Meanwhile, Pramila Nesargi, another women activist, said Muslims are part and parcel of the country and they cannot ask to be treated separately.

"Muslim women have a right to contest elections; they have right to live like citizens of the country; they have the right to live with dignity; how dignity could be given to a lady if she is being treated like vegetable, is she not a citizen, is she not a human being. She is bound by the law applicable to all women in the country. Why should there be a separate law regarding talaq, maintenance, marriage," she said.

Submitting its response in connection with the 'triple talaq' issue, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said, "When serious discords develop in a marriage and husband wants to get rid of wife, legal compulsions and time consuming judicial extreme cases husband may resort to illegal criminal ways of getting rid of her by murdering her. In such situations Triple Talaq is a better recourse."

"Marriage is a contract in which both parties are not physically equal. Male is stronger and female is a weaker sex. Securing separation through court takes a long time deters prospects of remarriage," it added.

The AIMPLB further said that polygamy as a social practice is not for gratifying men's lust, but it is a social need.

One of the petitioners Noor Jahan sought a declaration from the apex court, saying that Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, was unconstitutional as it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 21 (life) and 25 (religion) of the Constitution.

A batch of petitions is being heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and notices have already been issued to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and others. (ANI)