Baseless and misleading claims : Triple Talaq Row


The Lok Sabha today passed the historic bill prohibiting Triple Talaq.

A bunch of odd self proclaimed women rights activists mostly from JNU protested against the Triple Talaq Bill. They raised 10 concerns over the monumental decision taken by the Lok Sabha. Here is a critical analysis of their claims.

1. “This Bill disregards the fact that its very objective – to protect the rights of married Muslim women and prohibit divorce by pronouncing ‘talaq’ by their husband – has already been achieved by the judgement of the Supreme Court.”

No. Most of the victims of Triple Talaq are from poor financial background. They do not have any money even to fight in the legal system. A survey conducted by BMMA, an independent body representing Muslim women, states that while 92.1% of Muslim women want a ban on Triple Talaq, most of them do not have money to fight for justice in the courts. The current bill, if passed, will ensure the oppressor would be jailed as soon as it is confirmed that he had practiced Triple Talaq.

2. The Supreme Court in Shayara Bano’s case held that the practice of ‘talaq-e-bidat’ is manifestly arbitrary, and therefore, unconstitutional. An act that has no legal consequences being made a criminal offense, cognizable and non-bailable is manifestly arbitrary and therefore, a violation of Article 14.

3. ….Criminalising the husband would also lead to unwanted separation between the couple, against the wish of the wife…

Not true at all.
1. The magistrate can approve bail to the accused once the hearing with wife is done. (Clause 7(c))

2.The bill clearly states “The wife can drop the case if the couple reaches a compromise”.

Equality before law – The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India , prohibiting discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

4. “Since Muslim marriage is a civil contract between two adult persons, the procedures to be followed on its breakdown should also be of civil nature. Penal action to discourage the practice of instant triple talaq is a myopic view as it leaves many other issues of economic and social security of women unaddressed.

Again, The bill gives reasonable space for consensus. The wife can drop the case immediately if the couple reach for a compromise. Giving the accused an opportunity to “undo” his offense. In fact it is the penal action that enforces the accused to compromise.

5. “The government should strengthen the negotiating capacities of women by providing them economic and socio-legal support rather than criminalizing the pronouncement of triple talaq”

Well the government is already doing this. Read this and this. Criminalizing Triple Talaq gives additional rights to the victim ensuring that the accused can not intervene in any of the legal processes.

6. “The pronouncement of triple talaq having no legal consequences on the marriage means that such a proclamation by a Muslim man is essentially a desertion of the wife. In any of the Personal Laws, the desertion of wife by a man is not a criminal offence. Therefore, while the Bill aims to criminalise the pronouncement of talaq, in effect, it is only criminalising the act of desertion of a Muslim wife by her husband. Criminalising desertion by Muslim men, which constitutes only a civil offence for men of all other religions, is discriminatory under the Constitution.”

The Triple Talaq practice gives exclusive rights for men to abandon their wives. It doesn’t work the same for women. Clearly, this is an attempt to twist the fact.

7. “If there is violence within the marriage in addition to the pronouncement of triple talaq, the woman could use the existing provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.”

The existing provision has failed to address the issues of Triple Talaq and hence the supreme court verdict. It is to be noted that the Triple Talaq is legal according to the oppressive Shariah Law. Societal acceptance of abandoned women would be impossible unless the evil act is criminalized.

8. “No economic and socio-legal support is provided by the government in the Bill to women, children and other dependents, when the erring men are put behind bars.”

The government has already taken steps regarding this. Read here and here.

9. “The Bill allows for the aggrieved woman as well as anyone related to her by blood or marriage to be the complainant. There is no provision for a relative to seek the consent of an aggrieved woman before filing a complaint. The problem becomes particularly acute in the case of inter-religious marriages of Muslim men with a woman of another religion.”

Isn’t this a good thing? This will ensure that the act of marriage is not misused as a means for illegal conversions. There had been cases where women are honey-trapped, married, then taken to unknown locations and then ‘Talaq’ed. Giving the blood relatives right to complaint will bring an end to such illicit activities.

10. “The terms of imprisonment up to three years is arbitrary and excessive. Serious crimes like Causing death by rash or negligent act (IPC Sec 304A), Rioting (IPC Sec 147), Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class (IPC Sec 295) – all punishable by two years in jail or fine or both.”

Purely opinion based. I feel Triple Talaq is a serious crime than the latter two.

Concluding Remarks

The practice of Triple Talaq is one of the evil practices that is accepted by the Shariah Law. Lakhs of Muslim women have become victims of this cruel practice. The monumental judgement by Supreme court was a ray of hope. Criminalizing Talaq would definitely discourage its practice and increase the societal acceptance of the victim.

Several political parties are opposing the bill purely for electoral advantage. While several other self-proclaimed women activists make misleading claims to bring down this law. I hope the government passes the bill even if it means a loss of electoral advantage.

Last but not the least people should understand that a ‘women rights activist’ who supports Triple Talaq is no women rights activist at all!

The author is a political analyst. And has written uunder the conditions of anonymity. Views are personal

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