SC sends triple talaq case to 5-member bench

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the triple talaq case to a Constitution bench, which will hear the matter on May 11.

A five member bench will be constituted by the top court to hear the matter during the summer vacation, reports said.

The apex court rejected Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s plea that the matter be heard before the court goes on summer vacation.

Three Constitution benches will be active during the summer vacation, and one of them will hear the triple talaq issue, Chief Justice JS Khehar said on Thursday.

When Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal objected to benches working during the summer vacation, Khehar said, "There are three important issues we are taking up during the vacation. These are matters pending and if you don't want us to take them up, then don't say there is huge pendency of cases in the Supreme Court." 

The Supreme Court will be hearing a clutch of petitions demanding a ban on the triple talaq practice, which involves the husband repeating the word 'talaq' three times to divorce his wife.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had earlier this week told the Supreme Court that pleas challenging the practices of triple  talaq, 'nikah halala' and polygamy among  Muslims were not maintainable as the issues fell outside the realm of the secular judiciary.

The Board said the validity of Mohammedan Law, founded essentially on the Holy Quran and sources based on it, cannot be tested on the particular provisions of the Constitution. It said there was a need for "judicial restraint" before going into constitutional interpretation of these unless such an exercise becomes unavoidable.

It said the issues, raised through a batch of petitions, fell within the legislative domain, and since divorce was an issue of private nature, it cannot be enforced by bringing it under the ambit of fundamental rights.

The AIMPLB claimed the petitions were "misconceived" and the challenge was based on incorrect understanding of the Muslim Personal law, contending the Constitution grants freedom to every religious section to manage its own affairs in matters of religion.

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