The Supreme Court on Monday said it was keeping open for adjudication in the future the issues of polygamy and "nikah halala" among Muslims as the Centre insisted deliberations on these aspects as well.
As Rohatgi emphasised on gender equality of Muslim women including with their counterparts in other religions and in other Islamic countries, the court said that he was talking of gender equality, equality between religions and equality between the people of different countries and in this way, all marriage laws should go and civil marriage was the only course. This is not an ecclesiastical court.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, started hearing arguments on the constitutional validity of the practice of "instant triple talaq" or talaq-e-bidat on Friday. "Court is not a master interpreter of the Holy Quran, or Guru Granth or Gita", Rohatgi told the judges.
Responding to the judges' question on what would the government do if triple talaq is declared unlawful, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the government will frame a new law.
While the Hindu law overhaul began in the 1950s and continues, activists have long argued that Muslim personal law has remained mostly unchanged.
The SC made this remark when lawyer Salman Khurshid told the court that several Islamic schools of thought, including the one by All India Muslim Personal Law Board considered triple talaq as "abhorrent", yet valid.
"No, never", Sibal added when the bench asked whether a private member's bill had ever been moved on the subject.
He urged the court not to shut its eyes to the constitution that envisaged dignity and equality to woman as much as man.
The CJI told the AG, "We (court) are guardians of fundamental rights as well as minority rights".
"All personal laws must be in confirmity with the Constitution".
Rohatgi replied: "Constitutional morality has to prevail". Iraq has a shia population and they also have matrimonial laws, the AG also said. The reasons for separate enactments (of personal laws) are inextricably linked to religion.
The CJI also added that marriage was an integral part of religion, conveying that there were limitations in going into the subject. "We will keep them pending for future", the bench had said.
While on the other hand, Kapil Sibal who is representing the Muslim Personal Law Board said that problem is not with Islam but with patriarchy.
Senior Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the AIMPLB, argued that a tradition like triple talaq, which is centuries old, can not be termed unconstitutional all of a sudden. "Rights of marriage, divorce, property and succession has to be treated in the same class and has to be in conformity with the Constitution", Rohatgi said. "That's why the test of essential (whether the practice under challenge is essential to the practice of religion)". Resuming his submission in the Supreme Court, Sibal said, "That Ram was born in Ayodhya is a matter of faith, not Constitutional morality; same in this case".