Diluting the Talaq Bill

Representative Photo

For years, the Union government has been pussyfooting on amendments required to make the divorce laws for Muslims look like what could be deemed sensible for a secular country. republic. At long last, we have something that looks like an apology for sensible amendments. What the rulers of India keep forgetting is that we have a Constitution that makes it obligatory for us to have the same norms for all citizens as far as major human issues are concerned. So, instead of having one law that takes care of issues like divorce we have amendments that merely serve to find tacit excuses for not having the courage to have one law for the same offence. We are all busy looking for escape routes. The Union government has merely cleared three changes to the talaq Bill. One amendment relates to who can file a complaint against a man exercising the talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq). According to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, an FIR against such a person becomes cognizable only when it is filed by the victim or anyone having blood relation or relationship by marriage. Another amendment allows a magistrate to grant bail after hearing the wife. The third change makes the talaq-e-biddat a compoundable offence. If the wife and the husband agree to settle their differences, the magistrate can compound the offence on appropriate terms and conditions. It is time we worked towards common laws for all.