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Secret expert govt report banning triple-talaq to be revealed in CJI’s court

The Supreme Court is set to examine the government’s recommendation banning the Muslim divorce custom of “Triple Talaq”, after ordering the Ministry of Women and Child Development today to produce the confidential high-level committee report of the union government that contains this recommendation.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur, and justice UU Lalit, today allowed the application of petitioner Shayara Bano to order the ministry to reveal the high-level committee’s year 2015 report titled “ Women and the law: An assessment of family laws with focus on laws relating to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and succession”.

The report, which is not in the public domain so far, according to Bano’s petition recommends “a ban on various practices that are purportedly Islamic but require reform, including the practice of talaq-e-bidat and polygamy”. The petition states that the fact that such a report exists was in the news last year.

Bano, through senior advocate Amit Singh Chadha, briefed by advocates Balaji Srinivasan and Arunava Mukherjee, had challenged the Muslim custom of immediate divorce for husbands on uttering the word “Talaq” thrice, the practice of polygamy and of “nikah halala”, by which a Muslim man is not allowed to remarry his divorced wife if she did not marry another man after she was divorced.

The Supreme Court had taken up the law of “Triple Talaq” and polygamy for examination, on its own motion, in October 2015 in WP (c) 2/2015. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Jamait-Ulama-i-Hind had also intervened in that writ and were impleaded by the court on 5 February, as respondents. Since the 2015 writ was, on 29 February , clubbed with Bano’s writ, the two organisations are now respondents in Bano’s case.

Mukherjee said that notice was served and accepted by all respondents in the case - the union government, law ministry, minority affairs ministry, the National Commission for Woman and Bano’s husband – and the court today gave the respondents six weeks to reply.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi appeared for the Muslim law board, along with a battery of seniors for various respondents in the case.

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