Day 3 – Triple Talaq hearing: Centre seeks debate on 1951 Bom HC judgment in Narasu Appa Mali case
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Day 3 – Triple Talaq hearing: Centre seeks debate on 1951 Bom HC judgment in Narasu Appa Mali case

Bar & Bench

Updates on Triple Talaq Hearing from Supreme Court – Day 3

A vacation Bench of the Supreme Court continues to hear the challenge to the Islamic practices of Talaq-e-Biddat and Nikah Halala this week.

The Central government sought to reignite the debate surrounding personal laws and Article 13.

This development came about in the Triple Talaq hearing today, when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that personal laws have to undergo the test of Articles 13, 14 and 15 and that the Bombay High Court decision in Narasu Appa Mali will have to be debated by the court.

These submissions come even as the Court made it clear during the hearing last week that it will not enter into the debate of Article 13.

In Narasu Appa Mali, the Bombay High Court held that personal laws could not be invalidated by courts even if they are found to be opposed to fundamental rights, since personal laws were not “laws in force” as defined by Article 13 of the Constitution.

“Personal law is law, it will have to be tested under Articles 13, 14 and 15”, said the AG today.

Referring to submissions of the petitioner that Triple Talaq is not part of Islamic law and is against the mandate of Quran, Justice Kurian Joseph asked,

“But what if it is not even part of personal law?”

“That Your Lordships will have to decide”, was Rohatgi’s answer.

However, during the latter part of the hearing today, the CJI Khehar and Justice Rohinton Nariman once again reiterated that it will not enter into the debate surrounding Narasu Appa Mali.

“We don’t need that issue in this case. That issue could be decided in some other case.”

During the arguments last week, Chief Justice JS Khehar had said that the Court will not go into the issue of personal laws and Article 13, thereby reducing the scope of submissions on Constitutional aspects of the case.

Here is a summary of the action from the Supreme Court as it happens :

Today, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi is present in court to make arguments on behalf of the Centre.

The petitioners’ arguments concluded on Friday last week, with a host of Senior Advocates including Ram Jethmalani, Salman Khurshid, Anand Grover, Indira Jaising and Amit Singh Chadha appearing for various parties. The Centre is expected to make its submissions today.

On Friday, the issue of whether personal law can be considered ‘law’ under Article 13 of the Constitution was discussed. Jethmalani argued that any law that is enforceable by courts is covered by Article 13, and consequently, is covered by Articles 14 and 15. The Supreme Court asked for details of how the practices are followed in Islamic nations.

Former Minister Arif Khan stated that the practice, far from being fundamental to Islam, violates the Quranic mandate.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, along with Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Uday Umesh Lalit and Abdul Nazeer is hearing the case.

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