SC declines to interfere with ordinance making triple talaq an offence

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with the ordinance making triple talaq an offence, telling the petitioners to wait for the coming winter session of Parliament where it will come up for ratification.

“Suppose we issue notice but not stay it, what purpose would be served?” asked the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Hemant Gupta, telling the petitioner: “challenge to ordinance, we are not inclined to interfere.”

The court asked the petitioners to wait for the winter session of Parliament and that there was no use of a piecemeal challenge as senior counsel Raju Ramachandran told the bench that “prosecutions are taking place after the (promulgation of) ordinance.”

Later, the court dismissed the petitions by Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema, Sayyed Farooq and Muslim Advocate AssociationA as withdrawn.

The Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema had moved the top court on September 25 challenging the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018, also known as triple talaq ordinance, on the grounds that it invokes penal provisions against a class of people based on their religious identity.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018 abolishes the ‘triple talaq’ and makes its punishable.

Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema had contended that the triple talaq ordinance was violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution and has national ramification as it has introduced penal provision punishing a class of persons based on their religious identity.

The petitioner organisation had taken exception to the word “unabated” in the ordinance which says that despite Supreme Court holding the practice of triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) as unconstitutional, it was continuing “unabated”.

Describing the use of word “unabated” as “entirely whimsical”, the petitioner Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema had termed it “misleading, inept and improper.”

It had contended that it was doubtful that anybody, including the Central government, had any idea of all-India statistics on the occurrence of triple talaq across te country prior to the Supreme Court judgement.