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Five-judge Constitution bench to decide pleas relating to Triple talaq issue, says SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday said a five-judge constitution bench would sit in May to decide on pleas relating to aspects of triple talaq. The apex court will also frame issues on March 30 regarding triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy in Muslims for consideration.

“Triple talaq is an important issue, it can’t be scuttled,” observed the SC.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar took on record three sets of issues framed by parties with regard to the cases and said the questions for consideration of the constitution bench would be decided on March 30.

The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D V Chandrachud, said “the issues are very important. These issues cannot be scuttled”.

Referring to the legal issues framed by the Centre, it said all of them relate to the constitutional issues and needed to be dealt by a larger bench.

The bench asked the parties concerned to file their respective written submissions, running not beyond 15 pages, by the next date of hearing, besides the common paper book of case laws to be relied upon by them during the hearing to avoid duplicity.

When a woman lawyer referred to the fate of the apex court judgement in the famous Shah Bano case, the bench said “there are always two sides in a case. We have been deciding cases for last 40 years. We have to go by the law and we would not go beyond the law.”

The bench also made it clear that it is willing to sit on Saturdays and Sundays to decide on the issue as it was very important.

During the last hearing, the apex court had said it would decide the issues pertaining to ‘legal’ aspects of the practices of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims but not deal with the question whether divorce under Muslim law needs to be supervised by courts as it fell under the legislative domain.

‘Nikah halala’ means a man cannot remarry a woman after triple talaq unless she has already consummated her marriage with another man and then her new husband dies or divorces her.

The bench headed by the CJI had said “You (lawyers for parties) sit together and finalise the issues to be deliberated upon by us.”

The bench had made it clear to the parties concerned that it would not deal with the factual aspects of the particular case and would rather decide the legal issue.

The apex court had said that the question whether divorce under Muslim Personal Law needed to be supervised by either courts or by a court-supervised institutional arbitration fell under the legislative domain.

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