Modi government comes through for Muslim women – might table a bill making triple talaq a criminal offence

On 22nd August, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgement struck down the draconian practice of instant triple talaq, thereby providing some semblance of justice to those Muslim women who have been affected by this practice.

In the verdict the supreme court had put a 6 month stay in the practice and had asked the central government to bring in a legislature in the meantime.

The Modi government as a result seems to be planning just that and as per reports, has taken the first step to consider a legislation, which would make this practice a criminal offence. The bill in regards to that is likely to be tabled in the winter session of the parliament.

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As per the report, a senior government functionary claimed that the government is very seriously considering making talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence. In order to usher in the legislation, a committee comprising of senior ministers like Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been formed.

What needs to be noted is that, even though the Supreme Court had outlawed the practice, it had failed to put a stop on the practice. We had reported how instances like, Husband giving triple talaq to wife after she took food to a relative in hospital” and “Husband giving wife triple talaq after she tried to stop him from forcibly selling her land” kept happening even after the verdict was announced.

One of the reasons why a strong deterrent hasn’t been put in place may be because, the local police hasn’t yet received any instructions about how to take action in such matters, thanks to a lack of proper legislation surrounding the practice.

But when the legislation is indeed brought in, it would mean that the Muslim clerics would play no role in the matter and the women can directly approach the police for redressal. Currently the police aren’t able to act as husbands cannot be punished due to a lack of relevant penal provisions.

So now it seems to that long journey which began when Shah Bano was denied her rightful maintenance from her ex-husband thanks to petty party politics, might reach some sort of a conclusion, even though there are many more issues which still need to be addressed.

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