Hindustan Times (Lucknow)


- Moushumi Das Gupta

An inter-ministeria­l panel, which is formulatin­g the Centre’s response on the controvers­ial Muslim practice, has hinted that the government should leave it to the Supreme Court to take a final call.

NEW DELHI: The Centre is guarded on the stand it will take before the Supreme Court on triple talaq, the practice of giving instantane­ous unilateral divorce among Muslims, sources said.

The government is apprehensi­ve that a hard line on the issue can lead to controvers­ies in the run-up to next year’s election in states such as Uttar Pradesh, where 19.2 % of the 20 crore population are Muslims.

An inter-ministeria­l panel deliberati­ng on the issue has hinted the government should not recommend banning the controvers­ial custom and leave it to the apex court to take a final call on amending Muslim personal laws. The Supreme Court on September 5 gave four weeks’ time to the Centre to file its reply on a bunch of petitions on triple talaq and the plight of Muslim women.

The panel, headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, will have a couple of more meetings to finalise the government’s stand, but sources said so far it is in favour of taking a cautious line.

The BJP-led NDA government’s stand on the issue is important as it has batted for uniform civil code — common personal law — for all citizens. In matters of marriage and divorce, inheritanc­e and property, Muslims in India are governed by Muslim personal law (Shariat) Applicatio­n Act, 1937, that allows customs such as triple talaq where a man can divorce his wife, when she is not menstruati­ng, by uttering talaq thrice in one sitting.

India is one of the few countries, which still recognises oral and triple talaq, a custom that has been extensivel­y misused by men.

The government had earlier written to the Law Commission of India to examine the matter.

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