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Triple Talaq: Issues and Perspectives

Gita Devi

Pronouncement of triple talaq is now non-bailable cognizable offence punishable by three year imprisonment and fine.

There are three forms of divorce in Islam through which marriage gets dissolved. Ahsan, Hasan and Talaq-e- Bidadat or Triple Talaq. While Ahsan and Hasan forms of divorce are revocable, Talaq-e-Bidadat or Triple Talaq is irrevocable. Triple Talaq is a form of divorce in Muslim law where a husband can give divorce to his wife by saying ‘talaq’ three times in oral or written form. Under the Hanafi School of Islamic Law, wives cannot divorce husbands by means of Triple Talaq. The Talaq-e-Summat is a traditional form of divorce. In this, the husband has to pronounce talaq three times within a period of 90 days. If within 90 days, the dispute between the husband and wife gets resolved then the marriage is not dissolved. Here wife and husband have chances to discuss the matter and close it without dissolving their marriage. However, in Triple Talaq or Talaq-e-Biddat there is no such provision. This was not originally part of Islamic Law. It was added later. It smacks of gender inequality as wife does not have similar rights and it is only based on husband’s desire to divorce his wife. It is also violation of human rights as the women don’t have any power to revoke the divorce. The concept of Triple Talaq does not exist in Quran. The provision was added much later and hence is a biddat which means innovation. It is highly likely that the law was altered to suit personal interests. It was practiced in other predominant Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Pakistan but later on it was abolished. In India, the famous case of Shayara Bano v. Union of India and Others in August 2017 raised the question on this practice of Triple Talaq and the Supreme Court declared this as an unconstitutional. It also asked the central government to promulgate a law regarding this.

Triple Talaq Bill The abolition of Triple Talaq was also part of BJP’s manifesto in the election campaign of 2014. As the Honourable Supreme Court of India does not have any power to adjudicate on religious laws so there were many hurdles regarding the abolition of Triple Talaq. However, the Supreme Court finally abolished Triple Talaq. On December 27, 2018 The Lok Sabha passed a bill known commonly as Triple Talaq Bill. In the Lok Sabha two hundred forty five members voted in favour of the bill which was abolition of Triple Talaq and eleven voted against the bill. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad on June 21, 2019. It replaced an ordinance promulgated on February 21, 2019. The bill made Triple Talaq a cognizable offence. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 finally became law on 31 July 2019, replacing the earlier ordinance. Pronouncement of triple talaq is now non-bailable cognizable offence punishable by three year imprisonment and fine. If a Muslim man in India now says talaq three times to her wife than his wife and the person related to her by blood can give information or they can file a case. The bill provides that the magistrate may grant bail to the accused only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced) and if the magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail. If the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings and settle the dispute, the offence may be compounded by the magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared). For compounding procedure, the two sides have to agree to stop legal proceeding and settle the dispute. Criticism and Support of the Bill The abolition of the Triple Talaq was met with a lot of criticism. The Bill was opposed by the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board. It believes that the State does not have the right to intervene in religious matters. In April 2017, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) issued a code of conduct regarding Triple Talaq.

The Triple Talaq Bill was supported by the Muslim women as they were on the receiving end because of this unjust system prevalent in their community. They filed public interest litigation in the Supreme Court against the practice. They termed Triple Talaq regressive. They also said that it is against the Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which is equality before the law, which prohibits any discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. According to them Triple Talaq was against Article 14 as women do not have any rights in divorce. Conclusion The Triple Talaq Bill also helps Muslim women to get maintenance in event of talaq. It also gives power to wife for the divorce and also to file a case if her rights enshrined in the bill are violated. It also allows her to seek subsistence allowance for herself and her minor children. The bill further helps in establishing gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women. It grants them protection under the fundamental right of non-discrimination and leads to their empowerment. It will also avert the breaking up of many families due to petty marital discord. Thus, Triple Talaq Bill has been a successful and historic decision of BJP government in India.

The author is a research scholar in Sikkim Central University and is an intern at Academics4nation



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