Personal laws cannot be rewritten, Muslim board tells apex court

Personal laws cannot be rewritten, Muslim board tells apex court

Personal laws cannot be rewritten, Muslim board tells apex court

In an unusual defence of the triple talaq, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the Supreme Court on Friday that if the practice had not existed, a man would murder his wife or burn her alive, in extreme cases, to get rid of her.

Urging the court to keep its hands off the issue, the board stated in an affidavit that “granting the husband the right to divorce indirectly provides security to the wife. Marriage is a contract in which both the parties are not physically equal. Male is stronger and female is a weaker sex. Man is not dependent upon the woman for his protection. On the contrary, she needs him for her defence.”

“Personal laws of a community cannot be rewritten in the name of social reform,” the affidavit asserted, pointing out that Article 44, envisaging a Uniform Civil Code, was only a directive principle of  state policy, which is not enforceable.

It maintained that the triple talaq warded off the possibility of a further rise in the killings of women because their husbands hated them. It also claimed that alternative divorce proceedings in a court could damage a woman’s chances of remarriage if the husband indicted her of loose conduct.

The AIMPLB said the principles of marriage, talaq and polygamy are interwoven with the religious and cultural rights of Muslims and it could not be touched upon by any court on the grounds of violation of the fundamental rights.

“If the husband does not at all want to live with her (wife), legal compulsions of time-consuming separation proceedings and expenses may deter him from taking the legal course. In such instances, he may resort to illegal and criminal ways of murdering or burning her alive,” the affidavit stated.

‘Polygamy a social need’
The board also favoured polygamy, saying it was a “social need” and a “blessing” for women because “an unlawful mistress is more harmful for social fabric than a lawful
second wife”.

“Polygamy ensures sexual purity and chastity and whenever polygamy has been banned, it emerges from history that illicit sex has raised its head,” it said.

It also claimed that the Muslim personal law, founded essentially on the Quran and its sources, provided adequate rights to Muslim women and formed part of the issue of freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion guaranteed under Article 25, 26 and Article 29 of the Constitution.

Though, it claimed, triple talaq in one go was “undesirable and irregular”, the organisation cited various Islamic jurists and religious scholars to state that it effectively terminated the marriage.

The affidavit was filed in response to a number of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq.

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