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Legislation planned to end triple talaq
By Resmi Sivaram November 22, 2017
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NEW DELHI: Leaders of the Muslim community in India on Tuesday reacted with caution to reports that the Union government plans to introduce legislation in the winter session of Parliament to end triple talaq.

Reports said on Tuesday that a ministerial panel has been tasked with the move. It will either draft a new law or amend existing provisions to ban talaq-e-biddat and punish those practising it.

Talaq-e-biddat involves Muslim men divorcing their wives by mentioning the word “talaq (divorce)” three times in one go. The Supreme Court in August had struck down the custom for six months and called it “arbitrary and unconstitutional.” The government move comes as there is no concrete provision by the law to safeguard victims of triple talaq. Any legislation that the government initiates is expected to give more tooth to the apex court decision.

On Tuesday, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahli said the government should consult all stakeholders before introducing a legislation in Parliament. “Whatever the present government is doing it is sync with the apex court verdict,” he said.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Bengal unit chief and state minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury said: “The government can certainly table a Bill on the basis of the Supreme Court judgement. But I think the right to talaq comes under the purview of Muslim personal law, and quashing it through legislation may tantamount to interfering with fundamental rights.” The Supreme Court ruling in August came on the petitions of several Muslim women affected by the custom. A five-judge bench, comprising Justices JS Khehar, Kurian Joseph, Rohinton F. Nariman, UU Lalit and Abdul Nazeer had said in the order said that “in view of the different opinions recorded, by a majority of 3:2 the practice of talaq-e-biddat — triple talaq — is set aside.” A government official has been quoted in the media on Tuesday as saying: “There have been reports of number of divorces by way of Talaq-e-biddat happening even after the judgement by the Supreme Court. This could be because of the lack of knowledge of Muslim husbands of decision of Supreme Court. It could also be because of lack of deterrent punishment for the act of Talaq-e-biddat.

“In spite of advisories to the members of the community against this archaic practice, there seems to be no decline in the practice of divorce by Talaq-e-biddat.” Officials point out that Talaq-e-biddat is banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

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