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Bill criminalising instant triple talaq must be passed by the BJP government
Followed by Supreme Court's historic verdict on instant triple talaq, the Central government is ready to table the bill criminalising instant triple talaq.

The Supreme Court, in August this year, had held that instant triple talaq was unconstitutional in a 3-2 verdict. However the two judges who didn't hold instant triple talaq as unconstitutional cited that the government should bring legislation in this regard. The government submitted an affidavit expressing its will to enact a law making triple talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence, punishable with imprisonment of three years.

Before the bill was even introduced in the Parliament, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) conducted an urgent meeting and denounced the government's move to criminalise instant triple talaq as there's a provision of jail up to three years for the violator. They argued that this is a civil matter and can't be criminalised. Some also said that the bill is not as per Sharia Law and hence shouldn't be accepted. Some others also said that the government should have consulted AIMPLB before formulating the bill/law.

The Muslim community being the largest minority group in India has political value. The community serves as perhaps the most attractive vote bank for political parties. That's why the Indian secular industry or those who claim themselves as secular for grabbing Muslim votes, have too started opposing the bill citing various excuses.

Congress although initially promised to support anti-instant triple talaq bill, later started arguing that it will ensure whether SC's verdict is followed in letter and spirit. TMC, AIML, RJD, SP, BSP etc are talking in AIPLB's language. Interestingly, parties like the Left and BJD have also started questioning the need for criminalisation of triple talaq. As I see, it appears that this particular bill may be referred to some standing committee and the delay in its passing will be inordinate.

I don't know what Sharia Law says but if something is unconstitutional then I don't think Sharia has any role in it. The government has the right to bring bills for stopping unconstitutional acts. I don't feel that there's any need of talking with religious bodies like the AIMPLB. For those complaining why minorities are being bulldozed in framing laws, let me give some examples.

Dowry is a civil/social practice. Sati pratha was a religious, cultural practice. Polygamy was also an integral part of Hindu culture with even gods keeping multiple wives. But then, all such practices were stopped after being criminalised by law. Hindu religious leaders weren't asked for their opinion. Even under age marriage prevalent in Hinduism was banned after a law criminalising it was enacted.

If laws can be legislated to bring reforms in Hindu practices and customs then what's wrong with a bill criminalising instant triple talaq? Why should Muslim women having equal rights as per the Indian Constitution be allowed to suffer?

In my opinion, the BJP government should ensure passing of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017. If the bill gets blocked in the Rajya Sabha due to lack of majority, the government should call a joint Parliament session and pass the bill. BJP might face some backlash from the Muslim community leading to loss of votes, but surely, the Modi government will be credited for taking a historic step in reforming Muslim society in India.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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