- A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar is hearing the matter.
- Several Muslim women have challenged the triple talaq.
- The court plans to wind up the hearings by May 19
- A multi-faith bench of five judges - a Hindu, a Sikh, a Christian, a Zoroastrian and a Muslim are hearing the case.
The Supreme Court on Friday compared 'triple talaq' to the death penalty and called it an abhorrent, undesirable practice among Muslims.
There are "school of thoughts (which) say that triple talaq is legal, but it is the worst and not desirable form for dissolution of marriages among Muslims," a five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, said on the second day of continued hearing on the matter.
Triple talaq is the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by simply uttering "talaq" three times.
The observation came Chief Justice of India JS Khehar when former Union Minister and senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who is assisting the court in his personal capacity, told the bench that it is not an issue where judicial scrutiny is required and moreover women have the right to say 'no' to triple talaq by stipulating a condition to this effect in 'nikahnama' (marriage contract).
The court asked Khurshid to prepare a list of Islamic and non-Islamic countries where triple talaq has been banned.
The bench was then informed that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia do not allow triple talaq as a form to dissolve marriages.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for one of the victims, was blunt in his arguments and assailed the practice of triple talaq various constitutional grounds including the Right to Equality.
"The right of triple talaq is available only to the husband and not to the wife and it breaches the Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution," Jethmalani said.
"There is no saving grace for this method of granting divorce. One-sided termination of marriage is abhorrent, and hence, avoidable," he said.
"Triple talaq makes a distinction on the ground of sex and this method is abhorrent to the tenets of holy Quran and no amount of advocacy can or will save this sinful, repugnant practice which is contrary to the constitutional provisions," he added.
No law can allow a wife to become an ex-wife "at the fancy of the husband" and it is "the highest kind unconstitutional behaviour", Jethmalani said.
At the head of the anti 'triple talaq' lobby is a Muslim organisation- Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA). "In the course of our work, we have regularly been approached by our sisters, complaining about mistreatment and misuse of the oral talaq system. In most cases, men go scot-free and believe their action is approved by the Quran," Zakia Soman, one of the co-founders of the BMMA, told Al Jazeera.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:01 PM IST