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The much awaited Triple Talaq bill has generated a lot of buzz, but the Muslim community, including Muslim women, is not very happy with the way the bill is framed.
It has been agreed on a large scale by the Muslim community that Instant Triple Talaq has to go and activists from the community have been fighting against the Instant Triple Talaq (TT).While the SC decision to ban Instant TT was widely welcomed by the community, many are apprehensive about the government ‘s step to criminalise this act.
The urgency in turning a civil dispute into a criminal offence has raised many questions. Under the new law the offence is non-bailable and cognizable, which means it does not need a complaint by the wife or anyone for the cops to arrest or investigate a Muslim man. So by default, any Muslim man who wants a divorce can be held guilty of the offence, and be arrested and jailed for three years. As the divorce is declared invalid by the SC, the wife continues to be bound in an unhappy marriage for that period and issues like maintanence and child custody will remain unresolved.
The entire burden of the family falls on the wife and if the woman is not economically independent, who will support the family financially is a big question. With the husband in jail, any help from his family is least expected and if it a was a bad and abusive marriage, the wife will now be forced to stay in the marriage.
The major concerns with the law are:
– The offence is non-bailable and cognizable wherein the man is jailed for three years.
– The issue of maintainance and financial responsibility for the family remains unresolved
– The wife is forced to be in an unhappy marriage and faces an uncertain future
– Most importantly, the community fears that the law will be used to target and prosecute Muslim men
The incidents of lynchings of Muslims in the name of beef laws and love jihad has created a fear in the minds of many Muslims. Not only is the government silent with no condemnation of the incidents, cases have been registered against the victims, adding to the growing fear. Under the present situation, the Triple Talaq bill pushed through with urgency is not getting a very positive response from the community.
Activists and women who were strongly speaking against Instant TT themselves are raising many questions about the bill. Some of the questions raised are, as instant triple talaq stands void as already declared by the SC, then why are they imposing a criminal penalty on someone for it? Muslim women feel the Triple Talaq bill does not do much for their protection in the long run. On the contrary, due to the fear of prosecution, many Muslim men instead of divorcing their wives may now simply abandon them and opt for a second marriage, indirectly promoting polygamy. The abandoned wife is held captive in a failed marriage and any chances of starting her life afresh are closed forever.
She further has to face the social consequences of the issue; she will end up being an abandoned wife with an uncertain future or she will be held guilty for jailing the man who still continues to be her husband.
The argument that merely banning Instant Triple Talaq was not sufficient and the criminalisation will act as a deterrent may initially seem fair but on detailed analysis of the Talaq scenario one realises that how it will create more problems for Muslim women.
The general response of the community is that Instant TT needs to go but the bill in it’s present form doesn’t provide a reasonable solution to the problem and the government needs to draft a better bill covering all the issues and concerns of the community.
Top image via Pixabay