Constitution bench to hear triple talaq case in May

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New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said that a constitution bench will hear the plea challenging the validity of the triple talaq, “nikah halala” and polygamy among the Muslims from May 11.

Saying that initially the hearing would take place on May 11 and 12, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that it would then continue from May 15 till 19.

Chief Justice Khehar said that the hearing could also take place on the weekends — May 13 and 14 (Saturday and Sunday), as judges have consented to sit on weekends.

On the time to be taken in the hearing of triple talaq, the Chief Justice Khehar told the lawyers to draw a time frame for the arguments, saying that if such a time frame could be set during the hearing of the challenge to the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, why not in this matter.

“If time frame can be fixed in NJAC, then why not in this case,” Chief Justice Khehar asked the lawyers.

The top court on February 16, while fixing the hearing on triple talaq for today (Thursday), had asked the lawyers representing the two sides to submit their issues backed by short reasons and judgments that they would be relying on to the Attorney General.

The court had also urged the lawyers of both sides to split the issues they wished to address among themselves, so that the hearing could be completed within the allotted time.

There were some rumblings amongst the lawyers after Chief Justice Khehar said that there would be three constitution benches that would hold hearing on three important matters — triple talaq, Whatsapp and on Assam migrants.

Observing that if the judges were ready to work during the summer vacation, then why not the lawyers, Chief Justice Khehar said: “If we don’t do it (the hearing) now, it will not happen for years. (Then) You don’t blame us.”

Finding that some lawyers were apparently reluctant, Chief Justice Khehar said: “There is no (summer) vacation (in which) I have not sat (in a bench to hear matters). You (lawyers) want to work together, fine. You don’t want to work together, fine. We are happy to enjoy vacations.”

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal made it clear that he was not comfortable with the simultaneous hearing by three constitution benches, suggesting that one bench could follow the other.

“I did not know three benches will sit together. It should be one after the other,” Sibal told the court, adding that he was withdrawing his consent to the hearing of the Whatsapp case.

“You can withdraw from everything,” the bench told him.

A hearing on a matter during summer vacation takes place only when lawyers appearing for it give their consent.

–IANS

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