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Triple talaq bill and the absurd arguments of the opposition
Although The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2017 was passed by the Lok Sabha due to the BJP government being in majority, it is likely to face stiff opposition in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling party lacks majority.

It is more likely that the bill will be delayed if the government either doesn't send it to the standing committee or agrees over the suggested amendments.

In both cases, the spirit of the bill will be lost. Thus, the last option with the government is to call for a joint session to pass the bill.

The intention of this article is to discuss some absurd arguments being raised by various opposition parties.

Let us first understand that this bill only deals with instant triple talaq and not the entire marriage and divorce system in the Muslim community. In fact, what this bill intends to do is to simply reinforce the Muslim Marriage Act. The Muslim Marriage Act will become effective only after the Supreme Court gives its verdict on Halala and polygamy which is still pending. The present bill only aims to take care of the SC's verdict that instant triple talaq is unconstitutional. As per various reports almost hundred such instant talaq cases have come to light after the apex court's verdict and there is no law to deal with such offences except going for a contempt case which is really tedious for the victims.

Thus, whoever complains that this bill is not complete must understand that government is in no position enforce a complete Muslim Marriage Act at the moment.

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi has several objections. Firstly, he says that the fundamental rights of Muslim men are being curtailed. He has perhaps forgotten that Muslim women too have fundamental rights. Apart from that, the Indian Constitutions also mandates for gender equality. If men's rights are affecting women's equality then such rights are unconstitutional as no right is absolute for any gender, religion or creed.

Owaisi further says that the BJP government wants to send all Muslim men to jail. This is contradictory. On one hand you say that the practice of instant triple talaq is very rare and on the other you say that all Muslim men will be sent to jail. Are all Muslim men practicing instant triple talaq?

The Congress, BJD, SP, TMC etc have all disapproved the criminalisation of the act citing that if the violator goes to jail how will he provide maintenance to the victim. Isn't it ridiculous? If the man gives instant triple talaq, how will the victim maintain herself? According to the SC, the talaq is void but according to societal norms, the victim will most likely be driven out of her in-laws' house in the absence of this bill. That's why the provision of jail term is there. This jail punishment will act as a deterrent and even if the violator goes to jail then the victim can't be driven out from her house as the talaq is void. As marriage is a contract (for all religions) thus other family members will also be made responsible. Just like the Domestic Violence Act this act will also work. If the victim is not given maintenance the magistrate will take up the case and if required, attach the property of offender.

Another absurd argument is that because of the provision of jail term, one will eventually give talaq to his wife as per accepted norms. Thus, the marriage will ultimately fail. But the point is that those who seek to give instant talaq are anyways not in favour of sustaining the marriage. In any case, such marriage is going to fail. The only benefit offered by this act is that in such cases at least the divorcee will get justice. Also, the victim will be saved from ugly practice of Halaala.

Another argument is that the BJP is advocating for this bill for vested interest of getting Muslim women's votes. But then, what's wrong in it? Aren't all self-proclaimed secular parties talking in All India Muslim Personal Law Board's language just for the sake of Muslim votes?

Some people with vested interests are trying to depict this bill as a fight between Muslim men and Muslim women. However, it should be noted that although the bill aims for gender justice, it isn't a men versus women duel. On one side of this struggle is the victim, her parents and siblings while on the other, the offender, his parents and siblings.

The AIMPLB people aren't happy because their absolute arbitrary power in dealing with such cases is being snatched away and being handed to a democratic institution. If Islamic nations like Pakistan can do way with triple talaq why can't it be quashed in democratic India? One good thing is that the Shia Board is supporting such reforms. I hope the government of the day will pass the bill using all sorts of democratic & institutional processes at its disposal.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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