SC to Consider If Personal Law Constitutional Or Not
Khehar asks stakeholders to frame questions to facilitate hearing soon; CJI wants to wrap up hearing before demitting office in August Govt urges court to consider whether triple talaq & polygamy are basic tenets of Islam
New Delhi: A Supreme Court Constitution bench will consider whether practices such as instant tripletalaqandpolygamyviolatethe fundamental rights of women to life and dignity and whether Muslim personal law can be construed as valid customary law under Article 13 of the Constitution. The bench will do so based on queries put forth by the government, which asked the court to examine whether “personal law was law” under the Constitution. A ruling on these matters could have far-reaching consequences for the country, analysts said, going by precedents such as the Shah Bano case of the mid-eighties.
Thegovernmenturgedthetopcourt to consider whether triple talaq and polygamy were basic tenets of Islam and were therefore protected under the right to religion guaranteed to Muslims under the Constitution. If so, the courts would not be able to intervene in such matters. The bench will also have to decide whether they were violative of international treaties and covenants signed by India.
In this context, the central government also wanted the top court to examine whether the right to religion wouldprevailoverawoman’srightto equality and right to life and dignity guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of Constitution. It’s expected that these questions will be come up for hearing by a five-judge Constitution bench in May. This will be the court’s second attempt at removing what’s perceivedbysomeasthe anti-woman biases of personal law.
Chief justice JS Khehar asked all stakeholders in the case — those opposing such practices as being pernicious to women and several groups opposed to what they characterise as attempts to under mine Muslim personal law — to frame questions to facilitate a hearing soon. Khehar demits office in August and has signalled that he wants hearings wrapped up in two weeks, possibly early in the court’s May-June summer recess. Article 13 maintains the validity of all customary laws in existence at the time of independence unless specifically barred.
Article 13 maintains validity of all customary laws in existence at the time of independence unless specifically barred