Why criminalise triple talaq?

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Why criminalise triple talaq?

Sunday, 30 December 2018 | Shabnam Hashmi

Why criminalise triple talaq?

Triple Talaq is not the only important and problematic issue besetting Muslim women. I campaigned against Triple Talaq and once the Supreme Court gave the verdict that it no longer exists, there was no need to bring in any other Act to criminalise it. Yes, it will bring relief to some Muslim women. But what it has mainly done is brought together Hindu and Muslim rights.

Over the past 15 years, whatever democratic space within the Muslim community the women had created has slowly vanished. When we raised the issue of Triple Talaq, the Muslim radicals came out on the roads to oppose the move, saying that Islam is in danger. The result was, all the spaces that Muslim women had created for themselves were no longer there. Various women groups that had been actively supporting the scrapping of Triple Talaq, disappeared due to the backlash. It was a political gimmick to demonise and show how bad the Muslims are.

Fact is, Muslim women are feeling insecure in today's India - whether it is because of their children not getting education or jobs, or the fear of being lynched, or for that matter, due to the lack of health facilities. A majority of the Muslims are poor. For them, the main questions are around food, education and security which have become bigger issues.

Once the Supreme Court deemed Triple Talaq illegal, it became illegal. I don't understand why there was a need to make it an offence? There are provisions available in the law which that are applicable to all. Women can seek redress under the Domestic Violence Act. If a woman has been wrongly divorced, she can challenge it in a court of law. Why should the civil matter be dragged into criminal law?

Making Triple Talaq a criminal offence is not going to help anyone, men nor women. What the SC did was celebrated - just the fact that Triple Talaq is not allowed in 'one go'. The SC has only stopped one kind of talaq which was being misused. Women who faced the problem rejoiced but I didn't see any woman celebrating once it was declared a criminal offence.

 ( The writer is Human rights campaigner)