The Triple Talaq Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The NDA Government has been making consistent efforts to criminalize the Muslim practice in order to protect the rights of Muslim women. However, the Opposition has been constantly opposing the move to protect Muslim women.
This time around as well, Opposition leaders condemned the Bill. Shashi Tharoor said that the Bill was in violation of the Constitution itself and added that if desertion is a criminal act, there should be a universal law applicable to all Indians that criminalises the act of deserting a wife and children.
Along expected lines, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi vehemently opposed the Bill. He too said that the Bill violated articles in the Constitution. “The Bill is in violation of Constitution’s Articles. The Constitution lays down that if we make a discriminatory law, we will have to satisfy two tests — intelligible differentia and rational nexus. In this case, the Supreme Court has already said that the marriage is not going to end. We have the Domestic Violence Act, the Muslim Women protection Act 1986. Hence, your bill doesn’t satisfy intelligible differentia,” he said.
He then proceeded to make a false equivalence between the practice of Triple Talaq and the traditions of the Sabarimala Temple where women of menstrual age are not permitted entry. He said, “Through this, I would like to ask the government that they have all the love for Muslim women. Why don’t they have the same sentiment for Hindu women of Kerala? Why are you against Sabarimala?”
The attempt to draw an equivalence between the traditions of Sabarimala Temple and Triple Talaq reeks of malice and is akin to comparing apples and oranges. First and foremost, the lives of women are not affected if they are not entering into a single particular Temple. However, if a woman is given Triple Talaq by her husband, it throws her entire life into chaos.
Secondly, the traditions at Sabarimala Temple are not universal in nature. It is not even a universal aspect of every Temple of Bhagavan Ayyapa. It is specific to that particular Temple alone. Therefore, if a woman wishes to worship Him, she can still go to other Temples dedicated to Him or wait until she reaches the appropriate age. It is not the case with Triple Talaq. The Muslim custom is applicable to every single woman of the community and there is no escape from it, it hangs like a sword around their neck at every moment of their life.
Thirdly and most importantly, the Sabarimala traditions do not have the capacity to oppress women unlike the custom of Triple Talaq. As a consequence of Triple Talaq, many women are then subjected to the extremely evil tradition of Nikah Halala whereby women are passed around like cattle for Muslim men to exploit them sexually.
Therefore, any attempt to draw an equivalence between the two traditions is extremely disdainful and trivializes the extreme form of oppression that Muslim women have to suffer as a consequence of Triple Talaq. The debate in the Lok Sabha around the Triple talaq Bill also shows how ‘Secular’ parties always empower the fundamental sections of the Muslim community while ignoring the concerns of the Muslim women.