Triple Talaq bill – A case of Flogging a Dead Horse
- Transcript of a report by Vinod Dua – Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, episode 172 – thewire.in
The Loksabha passed a bill on Triple Talaq on December 28, 2017, making triple talaq a cognizable offence. The bill is subject to amendments and deficiencies will be fixed by a select Committee in Rajya Sabha. Not a surprise that Asaduddin Owaisi from MIM has opposed the bill.
It should be recalled that on August 22, 2017, a five-Judge bench of the supreme court comprising of the then Chief Justice J. S. Khehar, Justice Abdul Nazeer who felt that it was only the prerogative of the parliament to make triple talaq unconstitutional and status quo should be maintained. Whereas, the other three judges on the bench Justice Joseph Kurien, Justice UU Lalit, and Justice RF Nariman gave the verdict declaring triple talaq as illegal, unconstitutional, and void. The verdict was passed to ban Triple Talaq by 3:2 majority and declared that triple talaq is instantaneous and does not have any provision for reconciliation and is an archaic 1937 law. The current bill passed in the Lok Sabha now will be forwarded to a select committee in the Rajya Sabha for a detailed discussion. But the debatable question is how can Parliament pass a law on something that does not exist by virtue of being declared null and void by the Supreme Court of India.
Some statistics are relevant from the 2011 Census in the country. Shaheen Naqshbandi, a practising advocate in Mumbai says that whether talaq, triple talaq or no talaq a Muslim woman, like a woman of any other faith, has all her rights protected in the existing general laws like 125 CrPC (maintenance/alimony) Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. The present bill does not provide any additional rights to the Muslim woman, she added.
There is a table C3 in the 2011 census that mentions that abandoned women in Indian vastly outnumber the victims of triple talaq and it is time the government spoke up for those women too irrespective of religion.
The statistics of 2011 reveals that the percentage of Muslim women staying in the marriage is the highest at 87.8 percent compared to Hindu women 86.2 percent and Christian women at 83.7 percent and the others at 85.8 percent. The percentage of widowed women is least among the Muslims at 11.1 percent compared to Hindus at 12.9 percent and Christians at 14.6 percent and others at 13.3 percent. It is also possible that widow remarriage is determined by religious beliefs and is more in some religions.
The number of separated and abandoned women who are not divorced, not living with spouse or family in India are as follows. Muslim women, 0.67 percent compared to Hindus 0.69 percent, Christians 1.19 percent and others religious minorities 0.68 percent.
There is no empirical data to determine the actual number of Muslim women divorced by Triple Talaq and it is minuscule and but the number of women widows who are abandoned in Haridwar, Banaras, Vrindavan, Mathura and so on without any divorce is substantial. As per the census of 2011, there are 2.3 million separated and abandoned women in India. This is more than twice the number of divorced women in India. 30 lakh women are Hindus, Muslim women comprise 2.8 lakhs, Christians 90,000 and 80,000 are from other religions.
When such a big issue is made about triple talaq, it is time that the government should be concerned about the lakhs of women in India who are being abandoned without divorce and the Hindu widows and women abandoned without divorce is the highest. The bill that criminalizes an act that does not exist and has already been made null and void by the supreme court of India will be discussed by a select committee in Rajya Sabha. Is this another unbaked, hasty decision of the Government of India like the demonetisation and GST.
Acknowledgement: This is a transcript of a report by Vinod Dua from thewire.in “Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Episode 172: Should Instant Triple Talaq Be Criminalised?” on YouTube. Reproduced under the terms of the terms of Open General Licence. This is not a verbatim transcript.
The original video report is available at: