Rajat Sharma

Historic passage of Triple Talaq Bill will act as a deterrent

akb (1)It was a historic day in Parliament, when the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill by 84 votes to 99. The enactment of this law will pave way for gender justice to Muslim women who had been suffering from the social practice of instant oral divorce over centuries.

This practice has now been declared as void, illegal and a cognizable offence punishable with up to three years’ imprisonment.

I spoke to several eminent experts in law and politics. Two main points emerged; one, it could be a socially prevalent practice in a particular religion, but it cannot be described as a minority community’s right, because rights are prescribed only through Constitution. The issue of triple talaq relates to the question of rights – that is, the right to equality given to women in the Constitution.

The second argument put forth was that triple talaq could be declared illegal, but it should not be declared a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment. This argument is weak because if the practice is not declared a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment, the law will only remain on paper.

A large section in Muslim community will then continue to give credence to this practice. If there is no provision for punishment, the violators of the law will continue to ignore the law and carry on with this pernicious practice.

If we have to provide true justice to Muslim women, this provision for punishment has to stay, so that it can act as an effective deterrent. Only the fear of going to jail can prevent men from resorting to triple talaq. This will ensure that this evil practice will vanish from society gradually with the sword of punishment hanging over the heads of violators.

This law will ensure that those who utter triple talaq will land in jail, and the wife will continue to live a respectable life in her husband’s home, since the practice itself has been declared void.

This law, formulated and going to be enacted by Modi government, is laudable and every right thinking person should welcome this.

With the passage of Triple Talaq Bill, the Modi government has crossed a big barrier that had been erected by Congress and other opposition parties in Rajya Sabha over the last five years. The government can now get bills passed in Rajya Sabha by managing numbers.

On Tuesday, when the Triple Talaq bill was passed, AIADMK, Janata Dal(U), TRS, PDP, BSP and TDP stayed away from voting by staging walkout, while Biju Janata Dal supported the bill. Several senior NCP and Congress members were absent during voting.

The passage of Triple Talaq Bill thus marks a clear victory for the BJP, and a defeat for the Congress in Rajya Sabha.

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