MUMBAI: Even as the government has set up a ministerial panel to consider a legislation against instantaneous triple talaq, Muslim women activists have proposed that criminal proceedings should not be initiated against men of their community who practice 'talaq-e-biddat'.
Instantaneous triple talaq is said to be still in practice despite the Supreme Court striking it down.
Bebaak Collective founder Hasina Khan said the cases of triple talaq can be dealt with through civil law.
"We do not seek criminal proceedings against Muslim men who continue to exercise their prerogative of unilateral decision-making to end the marriage. This can be well dealt with under civil law," Khan said.
She stressed the need for the civil redressal mechanism and restorative justice so that "Muslim men can claim their rights both within and outside the marriage".
Khan said she and her team met Maharashtra State Women Commission chairperson last week and demanded funds as well as social-legal help to the victims of triple talaq.
Terming triple talaq "unconstitutional", the apex court on August 22 struck down the practice and directed government to make a law within six months.
"We fear that against the backdrop of the SC ruling, Muslim men can be portrayed as criminals. But, please don't criminalise them," Khan said.
She said since marriage is a civil contract, the procedures to be followed to annul it should also be "civil".
Zeenat, a victim of triple talaq, told reporters that the main thrust must be on providing relief and means of livelihood to the affected women.
"I am a victim of triple talaq. It hardly matters for me what happens to the man who broke his marriage with me in such a way. What would I get if he is jailed? What really matters to me is how the government machinery helps me and provides social, psychological and financial assistance. That's what women like me want," she said.