The Muslim divorce or talaq is in news almost on a regular basis. Starting from Shah Bano case, it has been a thorny issue for years. For starters, divorce/talaq rules prescribed to Muslims are based on Quranic verses and Prophet Mohammad’s teachings.
Divorce among Muslims is where a man divorces his wife by pronouncing talaq at an interval of three months. After the first talaq, arbitrators make efforts to reconcile the couple, but if the efforts fail, the divorce proceedings are furthered.
After the second pronouncement of talaq, if there is no reconciliation, the third pronouncement is final after which the couple ceases to be married. The aim is to provide maximum opportunity for reconciliation and save a marriage.
It looks good and fair, but the issue of conflict is when the triple talaq is pronounced in a single sitting or in one go, thereby making talaq irrevocable with no chance of reconciliation.
It eventually leaves women with no choice or no hearing of her point of view. In such cases the decision of ending the marriage is solely taken by the man with women having absolutely no say in the matter. She just has to obey the husband’s decision to end the marriage.
Many Muslim women, men and rights activists have spoken against this practice, have been requesting Muslim Personal Law Board to incorporate changes so that no Muslim woman is divorced based on the whims of the man. The MPLB has failed to address the issue and the matter has long been dragged.
The present BJP government has shown interest in the triple talaq issue and wants the Supreme Court to ban it completely, claiming to do so to protect the Muslim women. The majority in the Muslim community are not very happy with the government’s interference in their personal laws.
The beef laws, which have resulted in hounding of minorities on suspicion of possessing and consuming meat in many states has already created a lot of distrust about the Modi government. Many Muslims see the interference in the personal law as efforts to impose majoritarian laws on the minorities. They see the government’s intervention as a way to subjugate them. The unprecedented media glare on the topic doesn’t seem to help in any way. News channels have forgotten everything and are solely debating this issue endlessly with many news channels going as far as pushing for the Uniform Civil Code.
The need of the hour is to separate triple talaq from the UCC , as the latter lacks any definition at present. In the absence of any concrete framework, there is no logic in mixing the both.
Triple talaq can be addressed separately, while the suggestions for reforms can be made within the framework of Muslim personal laws to help women in the community.
As many law experts have clarified that government can’t ban talaq, but can refuse to recognise the pronouncements made in one single sitting within the framework of constitution and Muslim personal laws. approved by the constitution. Point to be noted here is that instant triple talaqs is banned in many Muslim majority countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey to name a few.
The MPLB needs to rethink its stand on the issue. Their justifications that very few Muslims follow it fall flat as the right of even those few Muslim women needs to be protected.
(The views expressed here are the author’s own and Janta Ka Reporter doesn’t neccessarily endorse them)