By M. J. Aslam
As was expected, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 (Triple Talaq Bill) has been passed by the Indian Parliament with overwhelming majority of RSS-BJP members on 28th day of December, 2017. The Bill was month before sent to States & opposition parties for their “urgent” comments & views. A number of amends were suggested by opposition parties & members including AIMPLB . But all those suggestions of amending the law to make it more acceptable to Muslim community have been totally rejected by the India’ ruling party (RSS-BJP ). If the law was to be passed in such a hurried haste, then, what was the fun of sending the draft law to opposition parties & States for suggestions. If it was to be passed in this manner of without consulting Muslim Community whom the law pertains, it may raise many eyebrows about its passing. It is indeed a “politicized law”. However, one may rightly feel that this law is sure to be challenged in the SC for its most shameful , painful & arbitrary provision of criminalising Triple Divorce by punishing husband with three years jail term. If punishment of Muslim husband was the objective of the Law-Makers( RSS-BJP), then, where comes the good intention of rescuing the Muslim wives slapped with Triple Talaq ? It blocks all re-conciliatory steps between the spouses . A husband jailed by the Court at the complaint of wife will hardly think of reconciling with her. The harsh provision will further harm the already strained relations between the spouses concerned.
The law passed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Shayara Bano v. Union of India wherein the Supreme Court declared the practice of triple Talaq as unconstitutional. Section 3 of the Act states that “Talaq-e-biddat” shall be ‘void’ and ‘illegal’. It is followed by section 4 that contains the consequences of such void & illegal Talaq which is three years imprisonment of the husband. The Act , as stated above, has been hurriedly passed without consulting Muslim Personal Law Board of India .
The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill state that an urgent suitable legislation was necessary to give some relief to them who continue to receive arbitrary Triple Talaq. It is like making mountain of a mole hill. The Statement does not specify how many thousands, hundreds, of Triple Talaqs were pronounced by Muslim husbands in India after the said SC ruling in Shayara Bano case. It simply states that the law is passed to “redress the grievances of victims of illegal divorce….to prevent the continued harassment being meted out to the hapless married Muslim women due to Talaq-e-biddat…..”. It shows “Law-makers” grave concern for “constitutional goals of gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women and help sub-serve their fundamental rights of non-discrimination and empowerment.” By destroying the chances of reconciliation between the spouses by punishing the husband for three years imprisonment, it blocks the possibility of reconstruction of the family. The law will do more damage to the family concerned.
Farooq Abdullah, NC & Muzaffar H Beigh, PDP, two Muslim Parliament members preferred silence while the Bill was passed in Indian Parliament.
The only other”prominent” Muslim who represented Muslim community of India was M J Akbar, a Minister of State Foreign Affairs of ruling BJP party of India. On the required consultation with All India Muslim Personal Law Board before passing the law, BJP Parliamentarian derisively commented : ” What is the credibility of All India Muslim Personal Law Board? Who chose them to be community representatives? This slogan ‘Islam khatre mein hai’ was used before independence to divide India and is now being used to divide society, poison is being spread.”
It is agreed that All India Muslim Personal Law Board has failed to come upto the expectations of the Muslim community of India over decades by coming out with some legislation to curb the menace of Triple Talaq & so, to redress the grievances of the Muslim women in this regard. But if they lack representative character, does M J Akber represent Muslim Community of India , is a mega intriguing question to be answered ?