The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Friday told the Supreme Court that “personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms”.
Personal laws can’t be challenged as that would be a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, said the AIMPLB in a reply to the Supreme Court on the issue of triple talaq.
The board also said personal laws, which are based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious community in India, can’t be rewritten in the name of social reform and that the courts can’t interfere in them.
“Courts can’t supplant their own interpretations,” the Muslim Personal Law Board said.
“When serious discords develop in a marriage and the husband wants to get rid of his wife, there are legal compulsions and time-consuming judicial processes. In extreme cases, a husband may resort to illegal criminal ways of getting rid of her by murdering her. In such situations, triple talaq is a better recourse,” the statement said.
The affidavit then turns sexist and claims men are stronger. “Marriage is a contract in which both parties are not physically equal. Male is stronger and female is a weaker sex,” it says.
The Board said the Muslim personal law were from the holy Quran and Hadith of the Prophet and were not covered by Article 13 of the constitution. Thus it could not be tested on the touchstone of fundamental rights.
The Muslim Personal Law Board said securing separation through courts takes a long time and deters prospects of further marriage. It defended polygamy as a “social practice and need”, and not mean to “gratify men’s lust”.
Stating that issues of marriage, divorce and maintenance differ from religion to religion, the board said, “The validity of the rights in one religion can’t be questioned by court. As per Quran divorce is essentially undesirable but permissible when needed.”
The policy of Islam, the affidavit says, is that “it is better to dissolve the marriage when there is bitterness among couples.”
A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur is hearing a batch of petitions on the conflict between fundamental guarantees in the constitution and personal laws in the country.
Triple Talaq has been challenged by some Muslim women. Among them is Ishrat Jahan, whose husband divorced her on the phone. Ms Jahan has argued that divorce through spoken words violates fundamental rights.