No need for new law, SC verdict is law of the land: Govt

RSTV Bureau
File photo of union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

File photo of union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The government today virtually ruled out the need for a new law on instant triple talaq, which has been rendered as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, indicating that existing laws, including the one dealing with domestic violence, were sufficient.

“The government will consider the issue in a structured manner. A prima facie reading of the judgement makes it clear that the majority (of the five-member bench) has held it (instant triple talaq) as unconstitutional and illegal,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Hailing it as a “great victory” for those who believe that personal laws must be progressive, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the verdict is the law of the land now.

He also said many parts of the Islamic world have rejected the triple talaq practice.

Asked how the SC verdict striking down the practice of triple talaq would be implemented and why a statute is not necessary for the order’s enforcement, a senior government functionary explained that a marriage will not be annulled if the husband resorts to instant triple talaq.

“After the Supreme Court order, if a husband gives instant triple talaq, it will not be considered valid. His obligation towards the marriage will remain… The wife is also free to drag such a person to police and file a complaint of harassment or domestic violence,” the functionary said, indicating penal provisions are present to check the practice.

The Centre is also all set to send an advisory to all states asking them to ensure compliance of the Supreme Court order.

A home ministry spokesperson said the ministry will be asking the state governments to take appropriate action and ensure compliance of the Supreme Court order.

While Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold for six months the practice of triple talaq and asking the government to come out with a law in this regard, justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held it as violative of the Constitution.

The majority verdict said any practice including triple talaq which is against the tenets of Quran is unacceptable.

The three judges also said the practice of divorce through triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the Constitution and must be struck down.

The minority verdict by CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer, which favoured keeping on hold the practise of triple talaq for six months, asked the political parties to set aside their differences and help the Centre in coming out with a legislation.

The judges in the minority verdict said that if the Centre does not bring a law within six months, then its injunction on triple talaq will continue.