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'Women should not be denied constitutional rights': Indian government opposes triple talaq in Supreme Court

The practice of triple talaq allows Muslim men to divorce their wives instantly by saying 'talaq' three consecutive times (either directly, via social media or even a text message). Photograph: (AFP)

New Delhi, India Oct 07, 2016, 01.37 PM (IST)

Indian government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court today to oppose the practice of polygamy and triple talaq (divorce) in the Muslim community. 


In the affidavit, the Indian ministry of law and justice said that there is no reason that women in India should be denied their constitutional rights, Indian news agency ANI reported.


"Validity of Triple Talaq and polygamy have to be seen in light of gender justice, equality and dignity of women," the affidavit read. 


The affidavit also referred to the constitutional principles like gender equality, secularism, international covenants, religious practices and marital law prevalent in various Islamic countries to urge the country's top court that triple talaq and polygamy should be adjudicated upon afresh by the apex court, Indian news agency PTI reported. 


"It is submitted that the issue of validity of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy needs to be considered in the light of principles of gender justice and the overriding principle of non-discrimination, dignity and equality," the affidavit filed by Mukulita Vijayawargiya, additional secretary in the ministry said. 


"The fundamental question for determination by this court is whether, in a secular democracy, religion can be a reason to deny equal status and dignity available to women under the Constitution of India," it said. 


The affidavit also referred to the principles of the Indian constitution, saying that "any practice by which women are left 'socially, financially or emotionally vulnerable' or subject to the whims and caprice of men-folk is incompatible with the letter and spirit of Article 14 and 15 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution".


Linking the issue with the Right to Life and Personal Liberty, the central government in its 29-page affidavit also mentioned that "gender equality and the dignity of the women are non-negotiable, overarching constitutional value and can brook no compromise.


"These rights are necessary in letter and in spirit not only to realise the aspirations of every individual woman who is an equal citizen of this country but also for the larger well-being of the society and progress of the nation, one-half of which is made up by women," the ministry further mentioned. 

(WION with inputs from PTI) 

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