New Delhi: National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam on Friday questioned the absence of a woman in the Supreme Court bench hearing the triple talaq issue.
"Watching the hoo-haa over the bench hearing the triple talaq matter and considering the different religions of the judges, it struck me that the issue is not about religion but about women's rights and human rights as it involves children as well. There should have been a lady judge on the bench," she told PTI.
"Though I am not questioning the competence of any of the judges, Justice R Banumathi should have been there," she added.
The matter is being heard by a five-judge constitution bench. The judges come from different religious backgrounds -- a Sikh, a Christian, a Parsi, a Hindu and a Muslim. Of the 28 Supreme Court judges currently, only one, Justice R Banumathi, is a woman.
"Muslim women I have spoken to maintain that triple talaq as practised by the men nowadays is not what the Quran had prescribed. The men have been misusing it to marginalise and victimise the women," said Kumaramangalam while stressing on the gender sensitivity of the issue.
Differences over practice of Triple Talaq exist in the Islamic Sharia since the tenure of second Caliph Omar (RA). Muslim scholars and jurists argue that concurrent talaq or triple talaq in one go has never been approved by Prphet Mohammad (peace be upon him), during the tenure of first Caliph Abu Bakr (RA) and the first two years of Caliph Omar's caliphate.
Caliph Omar later approved it as punishment, scholars argue, but later on the practice was annulled by Muslim jurists. It is on this basis, the practice of concurrent talaq has been termed invalid in most of the Muslim countries.
Muslims in India, majority of them followers of Hanafi school of thought, are adamant on the invalid concurrent talaq and are fighting a case with women activists in the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, some renowned Hanafi scholars have also ruled against concurrent or triple talaq. According to the sources in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the members fear that agreeing to any change on triple talaq would open floodgate of interference in other Sharia matters.
It is also learnt that there is a strong dissent among the members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMLB) and especially some women members are upset over board's handling of the situation.