NEW DELHI : India's Supreme Court said it will examine how far it could interfere in Muslim laws governing family-related issues as it heard a plea to end a practice allowing Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying "talaq" three times.

The Indian constitution allows Muslims, the biggest religious minority group, to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code.

A Supreme Court bench said Muslim personal law affected a large number of people and asked the federal government to weigh in on the debate as to whether intervening in the law would violate the Muslim community's fundamental rights.

"It is a serious issue and it has to be examined within the framework of the Constitution," Chief Justice of India, Tirath Singh Thakur, said of the petition on Wednesday. "We have to hear all of the views and take a call as to what extent courts can interfere in Muslim personal laws," he said.

The next hearing is on Sept 6.

Muslims make up 13 percent of the country's 1.2 billion population, yet government data show they are among some of the most excluded and marginalised communities.

Women's rights activists have long called for reform of the Muslim personal law which they say discriminates against women. What they want instead is a well-defined law that criminalises polygamy, unilateral divorce and child marriage.