Triple Talaq Bill Narendra Modi defeated hypocrisy of Congress
Many political leaders in history talked much on women empowerment, but they did nothing. For, any kind of women empowerment is worthless as long as the sword of Damocles was hanging on the head of Muslim women in the form of tiple talaq. They happened to be on the pity of their huband, who could throw them out of their homes, once they recited talaq thrice. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally managed to achieve this most needed landmark in his second tenure and criminalised this condemnable and inhuman practice of triple talaq. After achieving this milestone, he has not only created the history, but has also become a ‘Messiah’ among Muslim women.
July 29 will always be remembered as the day of liberty for Muslim women, as the Rajya Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019. President Ram Nath Kovind also gave his assent to the bill, which has come into effect retrospectively from September 19, 2018.
The Congress and Opposition demanded that the bill should be sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. However, the Modi government managed to pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha by 99-84 votes. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) and Janata Dal (United) opted to walk out. Both parties together have 19 seats in the upper house, which helped the government in getting the bill passed. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), with seven members, voted for it, whereas the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) voted against the bill. On July 25, this bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. It is worth mentioning that on December 27, 2018, the triple talaq bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, but it got lapsed as the Rajya Sabha did not clear it before the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Speaking on this issue, PM Narendra Modi wrote on twitter that an archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to the dustbin of history. Parliament abolishes triple talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society. India rejoices today!
“This is an occasion to salute the remarkable courage of those Muslim women who have suffered great wrongs just due to the practice of triple talaq. The abolition of triple talaq will contribute to women empowerment and give women the dignity they deserve in our society,” Prime Minister added.
According to this bill, any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever shall be null and void and illegal. Any Muslim husband who pronounces talaq referred to in section 3 upon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
In protection of rights of married Muslim women, the Bill says: “Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in any other law for the time being in force, a married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced, shall be entitled to receive from her husband such amount of subsistence allowance, for her and dependent children, as may be determined by the Magistrate.”
On punishment, it categorically mentions that an offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable if information relating to the commission of the offence is given to an officer in charge of a police station by the married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced or any person related to her by blood or marriage. An offence punishable under this Act shall be compoundable, at the instance of the married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced with the permission of the Magistrate, on such terms and conditions as he may determine. According to this Bill, no person accused of an offence punishable under this Act shall be released on bail unless the Magistrate, on an application filed by the accused and after hearing the married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail to such person.
It is worth mentioning that on August 22, 2017, in Shayara Bano matter, who had approached the court against the divorce pronounced by her husband – Rizwan Ahmad on 10.10.2015, the Supreme court “set aside” the centuries-old practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, which allows any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by uttering the word talaq (the Arabic word for “divorce”) three times in oral, written, or more recently, electronic form. Three of the five judges on the Constitution Bench — Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Uday U Lalit, and Kurian Joseph — had called the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary” and disagreed with the view that triple talaq was an integral part of religious practice.
“It is clear that this form of talaq is manifestly arbitrary in the sense that the marital tie can be broken capriciously and whimsically by a Muslim man without any attempt at reconciliation so as to save it. This form of talaq must, therefore, be held to be violative of the fundamental right contained under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. In our opinion, therefore, the 1937 Act, insofar as it seeks to recognize and enforce triple talaq, is within the meaning of the expression “laws in force” in Article 13(1) and must be struck down as being void to the extent that it recognizes and enforces triple talaq,” Justice F Nariman said while pronouncing the verdict. It is important to note that after the SC verdict the Bill was sent to Parliament to bring out proper legislation regarding this Bill.
Finally, Muslim women should remember these 99 votes of the BJP-led NDA, which helped in getting this bill passed. Also, they should never forget these 84 votes of Congress-led UPA, which went against their rights. This is the Congress that talked much on women empowerment in past but did nothing.
By Ravi Mishra