NOT SUPREME COURT’S BUSINESS TO HEAR MATTERS OF PERSONAL LAWS: JUSTICE A M AHMADI

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Former Chief Justice of India, A M Ahmadi, speaking at the seminar

I never thought the Supreme Court would take up an issue of personal law and would refer to a constitution bench as triple talaq was not a question of law in any manner; it is a sort of customary or personal law, former chief justice said.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Taking a critical view of the Supreme Court’s hearing on the “constitutional validity” of triple talaq issue, former Chief Justice of India, A M Ahmadi said it was not the business of the apex court to hear a matter related to personal laws.

While pointing out a different yardstick of the court in dealing with faith matters, Justice Ahmadi also wondered how the apex court had constituted a constitution bench on an issue of personal law belonging to a particular faith.

Noted lawyer Kapil Sibal, who defended the Muslim Personal Law case in the Supreme Court, said the triple talaq issue was raised with a purpose in keeping mind the next general elections.

In his presidential remarks at a seminar on ‘Personal Laws guaranteed by the Constitution of India – under Target’ here on Friday evening, Justice Ahmadi said, “I never thought the Supreme Court would take up an issue of personal law and would refer to a constitution bench as triple talaq was not a question of law in any manner; it is a sort of customary or personal law.”

He said he was little surprised when the court agreed to take up the matter while it was raised with a purpose as mentioned by Kapil Sibal in his speech. “Therefore, there was more to it than testing it with law,” he added.

I never thought the Supreme Court would take up an issue of personal law and would refer to a constitution bench as triple talaq was not a question of law in any manner; it is a sort of customary or personal law.

Concurring with Sibal that the triple talaq was not a simple matter, Justice Ahmadi argued that it is not a matter which belongs to the court.

Pointing towards a different yardstick in dealing with personal matters, Justice Ahmadi said, “In fact, the court has in one of the matters said while dealing with a certain shloka that it is in Sanskrit and we do not want to go into it because we are not expert in this language.” Referring this, Justice Ahmadi said it is much more difficult to deal with a proposition which is in Arabic.

“I don’t know if the present lots of judges are well-versed in Arabic,” he asked.

“You can’t interpret something which is in Sanskrit; much less you can interpret something which is in Arabic and yet you are going into it,” he added.

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court under the Chief Justice of India had heard the petitions against the practice of triple talaq in May this year. It must also be noted that the court had itself first filed a petition on this issue while other petitions were corollary in nature.  

While touching upon the uniform civil code issue, Justice Ahmadi pointed out that we need to abandon the Hindu United Family (HUF) concept which gives them enormous benefit under taxation laws.

In his keynote address, Sibal said, “They (BJP) understand that people are so gullible that they will accept it. There are many problems in other personal laws but those were never raised by the people in power who want to polarize the society on religious grounds by raising triple talaq and cow slaughter.

Quoting an article, he said polygamy is more prevalent in tribals, Hindus and Buddhists than in Muslim community but only Muslims are targeted on this count.

Read: BJP Communalizing Triple Talaq, Trying To Impose Hindu Personal Law: Muslim Group

Strongly defending Muslim Personal law, Mumbai-based noted lawyer and activist Falivia Agnes said Islam was not against women and that it has conferred many rights to women. Asking Muslims to present a coherent and articulate voice on the subject, she said media has created an atmosphere of Islamphobia in the country. Agnes also represented the Muslim Law Board in the Supreme Court.

Secretary of the National Committee for Legal Redressal and Justice (NCLR), which organized the seminar, Kamal Farooqui said a vilifying campaign is being run in the country to defame Muslims and their religion. Referring to the propaganda unleashed by the media on the issue of triple talaq, he said the NCLR has planned to carry out a series of lectures, seminars and debates on legal issues pertaining to personal laws.

President of BAMCEF Waman Meshram, Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR Dr Faizan Mustafa, senior advocate Yusuf Hateem Muchalaa, Dr MP Raju and others also spoke on the occasion.

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