The Union government proposes to introduce a Bill in Parliament next week titled ‘The Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’ which is aimed at undoing the injustice done by the existing triple talaq. The present form of divorce among Muslims has been deemed to be very unfair to women because (a) the husband can divorce his wife by merely uttering the word talaq three times, and (b) it is a right reserved exclusively for the husband. As such, the Centre deemed it necessary to ect a law that would undo the injustice to Muslim women. However, the All India Muslim Persol Law Board has said that the proposed Bill goes against the Constitution and violates women’s rights, and has demanded its withdrawal. There is some merit in the Board’s opposition to the proposed Bill, just as there is some merit in the Bill prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Union Home Minister Rajth Singh. The main opposition to the proposed Bill stems from the Centre’s failure to make a distinction between triple talaq and instantaneous triple talaq and the provision for imprisonment for three years for any man pronouncing the triple talaq on his wife. The All India Muslim Persol Law Board held an emergency meeting in Lucknow on Sunday to deliberate on the issue. “The Bill not only goes against divorced Muslim women but also creates a confusion between the system of triple talaq and the instantaneous three talaqs,” said Maula Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, a member of the board. “The Bill has a provision saying that a man will be put in jail for three years for pronouncing the triple talaq on his wife,” he said, adding that the Bill should specifically mention that it was against the instantaneous talaq. Rahmani also drew attention to the fact that a divorced woman would not be able to claim her and her children’s right to maintence if the earning member was put behind bars. There is sound common sense in what Rahmani has said. All said and done, what we have now is a new Bill seeking to protect the rights of Muslim women relating to divorce. But where it seems to have fallen short of a significant reform is in its failure to ensure a divorced Muslim woman and her children’s right to maintence with the earning member rotting in jail. And while it may seem all right to just to replace instant triple talaq with triple talaq spread out over three months, even the simple triple talaq denies a woman the power to divorce her husband. Perhaps the best solution for a secular country would be one sensible divorce law for people of all faiths.
Thoughts on Triple Talaq