TRIPLE TALAK BAN

Alive - - Editorial -

No one in his sense ap­proves of Triple Talak (sum­mar­ily di­vorc­ing wife by pro­nounc­ing Talak three times by the hus­band). But then, there are peo­ple whose senses are blurred by re­li­gios­ity, so the prac­tice is le­gal among Mus­lims. And cer­tainly it should be banned by law. That such a law was not en­acted even af­ter 70 years of in­de­pen­dence is re­gret­table. The Congress party alone could not be blamed for this lapse, as other par­ties in­clud­ing the BJP were in power in the past. Now of course the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment should be con­grat­u­lated for bring­ing a bill – Mus­lim Women (Pro­tec­tion of Rights on Mar­riage) – to Par­lia­ment for the pur­pose.

How­ever, there are rea­sons for past gov­ern­ments for not bring­ing such a Bill to Par­lia­ment. Af­ter In­de­pen­dence, Prime Min­is­ter Nehru thought that the Mus­lims who opted to re­main in In­dia should not be an­tag­o­nised by bring­ing a sud­den rad­i­cal change. He got en­acted the Hindu Code Bill which ac­tu­ally is on the lines of modern Western so­ci­ety, gave equal rights to women in­clud­ing pro­hi­bi­tion of Hindu men hav­ing more than one wife. This was op­posed by Hindu or­tho­doxy, the same nu­cleus of present day BJP men, but no one could over­rule Nehru at that time. So, a com­mon civil code for all In­di­ans re­mained in the Con­sti­tu­tion for all these years as a Direc­tive Prin­ci­ple of State Pol­icy.

While no po­lit­i­cal party ex­cept the Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ists op­posed the present Bill in the Lok Sabha, all that the op­po­si­tion asked was to re­fer the Bill to a Se­lect Com­mit­tee for wider dis­cus­sion. They con­tented the Bill, as it came be­fore Par­lia­ment, was com­plex and could harm the woman vic­tims than the ac­cused hus­band. Even Mus­lim women or­gan­i­sa­tions that had ap­proached the Supreme Court to ban triple Talak had these ap­pre­hen­sions. Since the BJP had not a ma­jor­ity in Ra­jya Sabha, it could not be passed.

The con­tro­ver­sial clause in the pro­posed Bill was “who­ever pro­nounces a triple Talak upon his wife shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment for a term which may ex­tend to three years and a fine.” By this law, the erring hus­band could go to jail, board­ing and lodg­ing as­sured by the Gov­ern­ment, but his wife and chil­dren could be made des­ti­tute with no fi­nan­cial sup­port. This would be a pun­ish­ment for the vic­tim than per­pe­tra­tor of the crime.

The real re­lief to Mus­lim women can be had only when a Com­mon civil code that has been ly­ing as a de­sir­able ob­ject in the In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion, will be en­acted by the Par­lia­ment. The root cause of Talak is mostly be­cause Mus­lim men are al­lowed more than one wife.

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