By: M. Burhanuddin Qasmi
If the opposition could do in the LokSabha what it did today in the RajyaSabha, the AntiTalaqBill would have been disposed off altogether today.
What Mr Gulam Nabi Azad spoke in his PC today in Delhi is yet not enough.
He has been putting the basis of his argument on the maintenance of wife when the husband would be in jail for 3 years. His thrust was on a single point and his emphasis was to expose that BJP is not doing any favour to Muslim women, else it would grant the maintenance from Central or State funds.
This is ok and politically correct in BJP vs Congress debate but this argument is weak.
The opposition must also speak about the clear demerits of the Bill itself. There are at least 5 major legal loopholes in this Bill. These must come through opposition parties before common Indians beside what Mr Azaad has stated in his PC and Mr Anand Sharma has said in the Upper House today. Actually these checks and balances could have been done by mainstream media but unfortunately there is no media now for us Indians except a very poor few. Let me put these five issues briefly in my words.
1. Bill says ‘Triple Talaq uttered will be invalid as per the SC Verdict’. It means there was no harm cause to the wife by these 3 Talaqs. And the definition of crime, universally, is when someone’s action or speech harms someone else. Here the Govt. is making some nonsense speech as crime.
2. In case of a Muslim husband uttering instant Triple Talaq even after the SC Verdict, as the law minister has stated in his explanation of the Bill that some Muslim women were victims of the TT and were forced out, then it should come under already existing Domestic Violence Act, which treats all female victims equally. There has been no need of a communal bill for a particular religious community.
3. The Bill makes the crime a cognizable and a non bailable one. It means, if a wife has evil intention, for instance, has access to her husband’s email id or cell phone and types Talaq, Talaq, Talaq and sends it to her own email id or cell phone then the poor husband will be in jail the next morning without even knowing what exactly has happened. The same can be done by a third person with evils in mind to spoil peaceful family of a wife and husband.
4. The SC in its hearing and judgment was clear about instant Triple Talaq and its definition of Talaq-e Bid’ah was clear and ambiguous. The Bill has crossed over the SC Verdict in its definition of Bid’ah and gone beyond Triple Talaq. The Bill now covers Talaq-e Baien, Talaq-e Rajie in menstrual period and Khula (wife seeking immediate Talaq), some of which are clearly mentioned in the Qur’an and acceptable by all Muslims without jurisprudencial differences. It means the Bill is unanimously against Qur’an and Islam thus it contradicts Article 25 of the Constitution.
5. The present #TripleTalaqBill is against Muslim Women and against all Muslims’ practices. For, in case of Khula, where a Muslim woman seeks divorce by her choice, separation is enforced immediately and instant but in the present Bill this has also becomes null and void, rather a crime! How come the #BJP4India Govt. is helping its Muslim ‘sisters’- by taking away their rights already gauranteed by their religion – Islam? According to all Islamic school of thoughts 3 Talaq uttered by a husband is at least one effective. Here this Bill makes this utterance completely meaningless which is against unanimous practice of all Muslims in the world. Thus this Bill is against women and against Islam*
There are other social and rational loopholes in the Bill which must be thoroughly debated in the Parliament. Opposition parties should come strong and expose the dirty game of all political hate mongers.
Author is noted Islamic Scholar and Director at MMERC Mumbai