The Centre is likely to oppose the practise of triple talaq batting in favour of women's rights as it is expected to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court today.
An inter-ministerial committee led by Home Minister Rajnath Singh met on Wednesday to discuss the government’s stand on the contentious issue.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi were also present in the meeting to discuss government's response to the court's notice on the clutch of public interest litigations filed by several Muslim women.
"Women are moving towards equality the world over. We should move towards that as well," The Times of India quoted its sources as saying.
Government is also likely to argue that many Islamic nations have either banned or restricted these practices
Several individuals and NGOs have sought a ban on the practices of triple talaq and polygamy.
The Law Minister would formulate a reply on behalf of all the stakeholders which includes the National Commission for Women, the Women and Child Development Ministry.
The development came after a Muslim woman, who was divorced by her husband through a phone call from Dubai, challenged the Muslim practices of polygamy, triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) and nikah halala, leading the Supreme Court to seek response from the Centre on her plea.
On September 4, the Supreme Court granted four weeks time to the Centre to file its reply on a batch of petitions on triple talaq and the plight of Muslim women.
Talaq-e–bidat is a Muslim man divorcing his wife by pronouncing more than one talaq in a single ‘tuhr’ (the period between two menstruations), or in a tuhr after coitus, or pronouncing an irrevocable instantaneous divorce at one go (unilateral triple talaq).
Nikah halala refers to the marriage of a woman with another man who subsequently divorces her so that her previous husband can remarry her.
While dealing with the plea of the 26-year-old woman from Kolkata whose husband divorced her by saying talaq thrice over telephone from Dubai, a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, had issued notice to the Ministry of Minority Affairs and others.
Petitioner Ishrat Jahan has sought a declaration from the court that Section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 was unconstitutional as it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 21 (life) and 25 (religion) of the Constitution “in so far as it seeks to recognise and validate talaq-e-bidat (triple talaq) as a valid form of divorce”.
“My husband and his relatives are constantly attempting to drive me out of my matrimonial home,” Jahan had said, adding that her four children were also forcibly taken away from her.
“The petitioner does not have any support as her parents are residing in Bihar. She is surviving with her sister’s help. The police are also not making any effort to trace her children,” the petition said while seeking urgent directions from the court for her and her children’s protection.
On September 2, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the Supreme Court that personal laws of a community cannot be "re-written" in the name of social reforms and opposed pleas on issues including alleged gender discrimination faced by Muslim women in divorce cases.
The AIMPLB, in its counter affidavit filed in the apex court, had said the contentious issue relating to Muslim practices of polygamy, triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat) and nikah halala are matters of "legislative policy" and cannot be interfered with.
The board also said that practices provided by Muslim Personal Law on the issues of marriage, divorce and maintenance were based on holy scripture Al-Quran and "courts cannot supplant its own interpretations over the text of scriptures".