A Muslim woman in the district headquarters town of Shivamogga in Karnataka has approached police accusing her husband, living in Dubai, of giving her ‘triple talaq’ over WhatsApp.
The couple who have been married for 20 years, usually got into altercations over small issues. On some pretext of something or the other, the man, who had left for Sharjah-Dubai in January and had not come back since then, used to repeatedly pick up fights with his wife during their conversations, and finally gave her talaq (divorce) in August, stating he “doesn’t want” her, police said quoting the woman’s complaint.
“He had initially sent her talaq message over WhatsApp, and then called her to utter the same,” police said. The woman has not “accepted” the talaq and sought justice by lodging a complaint. “I don’t have any financial support and have a daughter to take care of,” she has said in her complaint.
Though the couple, who were in their 40s, did not have their own children they had adopted a girl child.
Notably, UAE is amongst the many Muslim countries which have abolished the practice of Triple Talaq or talaq-e-biddat. This practice still allowed in India till 2017, before the Supreme Court had termed it unconstitutional in September that year. After that, the BJP government passed a law this year making the use of triple talaq a criminal offence.
Modi led BJP government, amidst severe resentment from the opposition, had on July 2019, got the Triple Talaq Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. On August 1, President of India Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the landmark Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, that abolishes the practice of instant Triple Talaq with which the law came into force retrospectively from 19th September 2018.
The historic triple talaq bill passed by Narendra Modi led NDA government makes a declaration of talaq-e-biddat in spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat illegal. Talaq-e-biddat refers to the pronouncement of talaq three times by a Muslim man in one sitting to his wife resulting in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
The triple talaq law also makes a declaration of talaq-e-biddat cognisable offence that gives a police officer powers to arrest the offender without requiring a warrant. A Muslim man pronouncing instant triple talaq attracts a jail term of three years under the triple talaq law. The accused under the triple talaq law is entitled to bail, which can be granted by a magistrate. But the bail can be granted only after the magistrate has heard the aggrieved woman.
Despite the law coming into force, there have been many instances where women are still being victimised, but at least, the government audacious move besides all odds to criminalise triple talaq has given courage to the Muslim women to stand up against the abhorrent practice.
Recently, in an exemplary act of bravery, a Muslim woman belonging to Rampur of Uttar Pradesh tore the piece of talaq paper at a counselling centre in Moradabad, where the couple had gone for a ‘mediation’ while saying that “this (triple talaq) won’t work anymore.
The victim woman had complained to Moradabad SP that her husband would often harass her for dowry. On July 1, the husband had written talaq thrice on a piece of paper and handed it over to her. The SP had then asked the couple to visit the Nari Utthan Kendra counsellor.
Likewise, in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh a Muslim man named Mohammad Ali returned to his wife fearing arrest after the historic Triple Talaq bill became a law making the illegal divorce a punishable offence.