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Triple Talaq Bill Heads to Lok Sabha Amid Congress Din, AIMPLB Calls Board Meeting

Under The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2017, a Muslim man who resorts to Talaq-e-Biddat or instant talaq would be jailed for three years and custody of any minor children would be granted to the affected woman.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:December 22, 2017, 9:25 AM IST
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Triple Talaq Bill Heads to Lok Sabha Amid Congress Din, AIMPLB Calls Board Meeting
Congress members disrupt proceedings in the Lok Sabha on December 20, during the ongoing winter session of Parliament. (PTI Photo/TV GRAB)
New Delhi: A bill which criminalises the practice of instant triple talaq will be tabled in the Lok Sabha next week. The proposed bill is expected to further raise tempers in the lower house where Congress MPs have been demanding an apology from PM Narendra Modi over his remarks against predecessor Manmohan Singh.

Under The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2017, a Muslim man who resorts to Talaq-e-Biddat or instant talaq would be jailed for three years and custody of any minor children would be granted to the affected woman.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme had declared the practice as “unconstitutional” and not an essential part of Islamic law and faith, but cases of Muslim men divorcing their wives through instant triple talaq did not subside.

The proposed bill has made instant divorce a non-bailable offence which can lead to an imprisonment of up to three years upon conviction. It also makes it mandatory for the husband to pay maintenance to his wife and child support towards any children.

The government has maintained that "the legislation would help in ensuring the larger constitutional goals of gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women and help subserve their rights of non-discrimination and empowerment”.

The government in the recent winter session of the Parliament had informed the Lok Sabha that "66 cases of triple talaq were reported" even though the Apex court struck any such form of divorce thus proving that the verdict had failed to act as a deterrent.

Since three of five judges on the Constitution bench had ruled that personal laws cannot be tampered with and that instant talaq was against Islam, the government too has kept itself limited to criminalising only the instant triple talaq.

Coinciding with the introduction of the bill in the Lok Sabha, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) too has decided to hold an executive body meeting at Nadwa-tul Ulema in Lucknow on December 24 to finalise its response to the bill. The body has released an official letter to its executive members to attend the meeting.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who is a member of the Lok Sabha as well as the AIMPLB, has voiced opposition to the proposed legislation on social media.

"This is a draconian and will lead further exploitation & more injustice to married muslim women this is being done by Modi government only for political considerations,burden of proof on women (again) we need law against abandonment married women (sic)," he tweeted.

Some civil society organisations, too, have raised questions over the provisions of the bill, saying an amendment to the current legislation would have sufficed. They have also demanded that the bill be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee so recommendations are added to the proposed law.

“The law is intended to instill fear of the state by being able to walk into your home and incarcerate Muslim men,” said Ayesha Kidwai, a professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Activists have questioned criminalizing a practice which was anyway declared ‘void’ by the Supreme Court. "When the marriage is not broken, why send the man to jail. The law will make me a divorcee," said Shabina Mumtaz, a social worker from Uttar Pradesh.

However, there is also support for the bill from some quarters. Zakia Soman, founder of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, said bodies opposing the bill like have "no locus standi".

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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