In its first meeting since the Supreme Court order calling for a ban on Triple talaq on August 22, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board surprisingly did not discuss anything on filing review petition against the Supreme Court order banning instant triple talaq. According to the sources, it was felt during informal discussions that a review plea may throw open numerous other religious practices, such as polygamy, under the scrutiny of law.
Although no review proposals came up at the meeting, the marathon meeting did criticize the government for the supposed attack on the Muslim personal laws, and thanked the Supreme Court for not venturing out in that direction.
According to some reports, the majority of committee members realized that questioning the triple talaq judgement may not be a favorable move, despite their personal deviations from the same, and hence resolved to set up a panel to examine the judgment to hunt for any inconsistency with the Shariah. In doing so, the board also recorded its “commitment to carry forward large scale reforms”.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the board came up with the conclusion:
“The government had laid bare its intention in the form of the Attorney General’s submissions in the Hon’ble Supreme Court that all forms of dissolution of marriages without intervention of the court should be declared as unconstitutional. We register our displeasure and consider it as attack on personal law of Muslims. This stand of the present government is contrary to the protection guaranteed by the Constitution of India. We make (a) categorical statement that the Community cannot and shall not tolerate such attack on personal law of Muslim community.
On August 22, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, by a 3-2 majority verdict, had held the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) illegal. Although numerous committees, such as the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, had found the decision of the court objectionable, the AIMPLB decided not to press the issue any further.
According to Kamal Faruqui, a member of the AIMPLB executive committee:
The matter of a review petition was absolutely not discussed at the meeting. Whoever thought we would be doing so was merely imagining things. We have always advocated a reasonable line, we are not in favor like some other organisations of taking to the streets at the slightest pretext. We try to steer clear of adopting a confrontational attitude because there are many other issues of Muslims, like education, that need attention. We will stand up against anyone when it is required, but now is not the time. We are not emphasizing it, but we did win a major victory when the SC upheld personal laws; we are not talking because we do not want it to be politicized again.
The board further said that it has always held instant triple talaq as a sin, though the same is admissible in Hanafi, Maliki, Ambali and Shafai schools of Sunni law, and steps were taken to curb its heinous advances through various through community-reform program. It had even issued a model nikahnama about two decades ago to facilitate the understanding of the true matrimonial law, said the board.
Meanwhile, the executive committee of the Muslim Law Board also expressed its surprise over the Supreme Court’s decision to begin hearing the Babri Masjid case on a daily basis. Although they agreed to abide by the rules laid down by the court decisively, they maintained that “ the process has to be judicial without bringing politics into it. It’s related to property, it’s a title suit.”
The AIMPLB further said that the court had now given very little time to the two parties, and that there was not enough time to translate all the documents. Lashing out at the government, the board said:
“We feel this may be used as a plank by a certain political party. We want the might and respect of the court should not be compromised. Court is our last resort.”