The Supreme Court on 3 May 2017 allowed former union minister Salman Khurshid to assist it as an amicus curiae in hearing of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims. The permission was granted by a Supreme Court bench comprised of Chief Justice J S Khehar, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice S K Kaul. Khurshid, who is a senior advocate, was also allowed to file his written submissions in the case.
Salman Khurshid was appointed as the amicus curiae after he said to the court that he wanted to assist the court in the matter to which the court agreed. A five-judge constitution bench would commence hearing to decide a batch of petitions challenging ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy from 11 May 2017. The court will be hearing a number of pleas filed by several Muslim women who are challenging the practice of triple talaq under which men can divorce wives just by uttering the word Talaq thrice.
The petition was started by the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), an Islamic organisation affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The organisation in its plea, which carries signs of more than a million Muslims across India, has demanded an end to the process of triple talaq. The pleas have urged the top court to have its say in the practice of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy in accordance with India’s obligation to the international treaties and agreements where it is a signatory.
Earlier, the court asked centre to have its opinion in regard to the issues and the centre in its reply said, “Triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy violate Muslim women’s right to equality and dignity and are not protected by the right to profess, practise and propagate religion under Article 25(1) of the Constitution”. Amicus Curiae can be a person or group that is not a party to a lawsuit but has a strong interest in the matter. He/she or the group seeks a permission to submit a brief in the action with the intent of influencing the court’s direction.