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Triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha on Dec 28, AIMPLB requests PM Modi to withdraw it

The government’s move against triple talaq follows numerous complaints by Muslim women, who were divorced through the practice and denied alimony and other rights.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2017 08:23 IST
M Tariq Khan
M Tariq Khan
Lucknow, Hindustan Times
Triple talaq,Instant triple talaq,Triple talaq bill
Officials of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) during a meeting on ‘triple talaq' in Lucknow on Sunday. (PTI)

The Narendra Modi government is set to introduce in the Lok Sabha on Thursday a bill seeking to criminalise triple talaq, providing a legal framework to prosecute Muslim men calling off marriages using a custom outlawed by the Supreme Court.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha by law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 28, according to the list of business in the Lower House.

The bill, prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — illegal and void, and provides for a jail term of three years for the husband.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which opposes the proposed law, has requested Prime Minister Modi to withdraw the bill.

The board’s president Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi wrote in a four-page letter to the Prime Minister that the bill was against Saria or Islamic law and infringes constitutional rights guaranteed to religious minorities.

Should the Centre go ahead with the bill, the AIMPLB would oppose the move and make people aware that neither it nor other “true representatives” of Muslim women were consulted before preparing the legislation, the letter said.

The All-India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) called the AIMPLB anti-women for opposing the bill and trying to create a divide to block the proposed law in Parliament.

AIMWPLB president Shaista Amber said: “Triple talaq is a draconian way to destroy the lives of women and it should be banned as it is un-Islamic. We support the government for bringing the bill as it protects the right of Muslim women who are treated as slaves by men.”

The move against triple talaq follows numerous complaints by Muslim women, who were divorced through the customary practice and denied alimony and other rights.

Talaq-e-biddat involves Muslim men divorcing their wives by mentioning the word “talaq”, meaning divorce, three times in quick succession, sometimes over email, WhatsApp messages or letters.

In August, the top court struck down the custom as arbitrary and unconstitutional in a verdict that was hailed as a watershed moment for gender justice in India.

The triple talaq debate forged an unlikely coalition between women groups, Prime Minister Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which wanted the customary law quashed, against some Muslim outfits that contended the state had no right to interfere in religious matters.

Talaq-e-biddat is banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia. Muslim men in India can still divorce using two other forms of talaq that have a three-month cooling off period.

The proposed law would be applicable only to instant triple talaq and it would empower Muslim women to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and her minor children.

The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate.

(with inputs PTI inputs)

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 19:50 IST