Peculiarities of personal laws should be protected: Jamiat

It tells SC that practices of marriage and divorce like polygamy, triple talaq warrant no interference from courts

Published - December 03, 2016 08:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Getting rid of the ‘peculiarities’ of the Islamic personal law will be akin to enforcing the Uniform Civil Code by judicial process, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, a prominent Islamic organisation, told the Supreme Court.

The peculiarities of personal laws should be protected to secure freedom of religion and practices of marriage and divorce like polygamy, triple talaq and ‘nikah halala’ warrant no interference from courts,

Counter-affidavit

In a counter-affidavit filed in the Supreme Court recently, Jamiat has said the personal law of Islam is neither local nor regional. It has an aura of certainty as it is “primarily based on the Holy Koran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, explained and applied by various scholars of great antiquity and authority after thorough research.”

The Jamiat was responding to a batch of petitions seeking to abolish personal law practices like triple talaq as discriminatory to Muslim women and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court had itself triggered the flurry of litigation after taking suo motu cognisance of whether Islamic practices of marriage and divorce were a source of suffering and discrimination to women.

“In personal laws, new concepts of modern times should not be evolved by the courts,” the Jamiat said.

‘Greater dignity’

Referring to the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, the affidavit said it had highlighted that Muslim women should be allowed to be governed by Muslim Personal Law instead of local customs and practices because the Muslim Personal Law treats “women with greater dignity.”

The Muslim body said women who had approached the apex court should move regular civil courts, seeking adjudication of validity of divorce granted to them in the light of the law already settled by the Supreme Court.

“Muslim women enjoy greater freedom as there is no compulsion on the wife to remarry the same man or to contract any further marriage at all,” the affidavit said.

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