So on May 11th, an all-male but religiously very diverse bench of the Supreme Court sat down to hear the contentious triple talaq case. It was also reported on May 11th that the Court said it would not look at polygamy and nikah halala in this case. Yesterday, the Court seemed to change its mind and said it may look at these two issues as well (more on this later).
In yesterday’s arguments, the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the Bench that since marriage is a contract in Islam, women can negotiate and insert clauses to hold that a husband may not resort to triple talaq, or that allow for the woman to use triple talaq. This reminds us of a recent case in Meerut where a woman pronounced triple talaq to her abusive husband. It was further argued that a husband can delegate the power of pronouncing triple talaq to his wife or to another person.
To this, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said in a statement released yesterday, “AIMPLB’s argument that a Muslim man can delegate his power of pronouncing talaq to his wife is laughable – this can hardly be expected to happen in real life if the wife wants a divorce but husband doesn’t.”
On an aside, for now we are at least mildly relieved that all the gents in Court have stopped talking in cricket metaphors. Yesterday, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi tried to convince the Bench to go against its original plan to not look at nikah halala and polygamy. The Bench replied that even in T20 cricket, one cannot take three wickets with one ball. The AG then responded that even if all three wickets are broken, it is taken as one wicket in cricket. Justice Nariman responded, “The AG is bowling like a Chinaman.” Come on, boys!