New Delhi: A ministerial committee has been constituted by centre to bring in legislation during the winter session of Parliament to end the practice of triple talaq. Triple talaq is the practice that allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife by uttering ‘talaq’ thrice at one go.
In August, the Supreme Court struck down the controversial Islamic practice of instant divorce or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ as arbitrary and unconstitutional.The decision comes in the wake of the judgement given by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Shayara Bano vs Union of India and other connected matters. The judgment upholds equal rights and the equal protection of every person enshrined under Article 14 of the Constitution, irrespective of majority or minority status.
“We have been demanding a codified law, a legislative protection. Such a law will take care of polygamy, nikah halala, minimum age for marriage etc. Our demand is not to get into IPC, but a new legislation which is comprehensive and is as per the Quran as well as the Constitution,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA).
To give life to the order of the Supreme Court, the Centre has decided to take the matter forward and conferred within itself to either bring suitable legislation or amend existing provisions to make instantaneous triple talaq an offence. The government feels that as the law stands today, the victims of Talaq-e-biddat have no option but to approach the police for the redressal of their grievances as the Muslim clergy would be of little assistance to them. Even police are helpless as no action can be taken against a husband giving triple talaq in the absence of punitive provisions in the law.
The top court also expressed hope that the Union government would consider the Muslim bodies and Sharia law while considering the changes in the legislation.
Though most parties have hailed Supreme Court’s August judgment, the debate on a bill is likely to open a can of worms as All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has remained staunchly against legal or legislative intervention in the Muslim’s personal law. After the verdict, even though the Muslim body agreed to respect the Supreme Court’s verdict, it said it considers the Centre’s submission in the apex court about all other forms of their marriages as an “attack on the personal law”.
Interestingly the reports of the bill on triple talaq comes at a time when the Congress party has been accusing the government of “avoiding” the Winter Session of Parliament in view of the Gujarat assembly elections. The main Opposition party in the Upper House said that the government was postponing the session to evade facing tough questions on issues like scams of ministers, Rafale deal, GST and note ban just before the elections.Congress has accused Modi of sabotaging the Winter Session on flimsy grounds by “locking the temple of democracy”.
Refuting Congress charge, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said Parliament sessions were often rescheduled to ensure they did not overlap with elections, and that the Congress had itself postponed sessions several times in the past. “It has been a tradition and it has happened several times that Parliament sessions are rescheduled when an election is happening,” he told reporters in Rajkot. However, Government is said to be considering a truncated Winter Session of around 10 days starting from the second week of December.
With PTI inputs