HYDERABAD: A proposal with a draft law sent by the Centre to the states, which makes talaq-e-biddat (triple talaq) a cognisable and non-bailable offence punishable with three years of jail and a monetary fine, has received criticism from activists in Hyderabad. “There is a proposal to provide subsistence allowance to Muslim women and dependent children in the event of pronouncement of talaq-e-biddat. The women will also be entitled for custody of their children,” the draft further states.
Jameela Nishat, a women’s rights activist from Old City, said triple talaq is a condemnable practice but not a crime. “If the judiciary wants to revise the law with an agenda to bring a reform and to empower Muslim women, it should bring in a clause for reconciliation,” she asserted.It would be a rational move if a law is framed which makes it mandatory for the qazi to hear both the husband and wife, and reach to a conclusion only after knowing from them the grounds for seeking divorce. The concerns regarding compensation or marriage alimony to be provided to the wife should also be discussed, she said.
Ilyas Shamshi, a minority welfare activist, said, “My first question is who will look after the wife, in case she is not earning, after her husband is sent to jail for three years for pronouncing talaq. Also, if a sensitive relationship like that of a husband and wife, and their separation, are seen in the purview of crime, it will kill the soul of the relationship.”
He also asked what would happen if like every other legal proceeding, a case of triple talaq reaches its conclusion only after years. “In such a scenario, by the time a husband is jailed for three years, the wife might have suffered for years already waiting for justice, and the husband would have remarried, “ he said.
Some community leaders also asked that if talaq-e-biddat is criminalised and the husband is jailed, the children of the litigating parents will be deprived of the father’s affection.Ather Moin, an activist, said: “How can we expect that a person who undergoes a three-year prison term will accept his wife or live happily with her once he is out of jail?
He might even seek revenge from his wife once he is released.” It may be recalled that on August 22, the Supreme Court struck down triple talaq, calling the practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law. The draft proposal has been sent by the Centre to the States as the practice continued despite the Supreme Court striking it down.