The Triple Talaq Bill, which has been passed by the Lok Sabha in the Winter session of the Parliament, will be tabled again in the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming Budget Session. Ahead of the development, a section of Muslim women have asked the government to retain the criminalisation provision in the triple talaq Bill while making it a bailable, compoundable offence which becomes cognisable only at the instance of the wife. As per a report by The Indian Express, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has sent letters communicating their demands, along with their draft of the law, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, ministries of Law, Minority Affairs, Women and Child Development and Law Commission.
The letter states that following the tabling of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 in Parliament, a consultation held with more than 60,000 Muslim women in different states showed that they want the imprisonment clauses in cases of talaq-e-bidat. Led by Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Safia Niaz, the BMMA states that despite the SC setting aside the aside triple talaq in its judgement of 22nd August, it is still very much in practice. Zakia said that almost all women they spoke to were of the opinion that by not sending the husband to jail, shows that the concern is more about protecting the husband than the woman who has to bear the consequence of talaq-e-bidat.
“We have therefore suggested a one year imprisonment term for the husband (instead of the three years proposed in the Bill) and/or a fine if even after exhausting all options, the husband is adamant about giving his wife triple talaq,” she said, adding that they want the Bill to go through proper scrutiny before a Select Committee of Parliament. “We have waited 70 years, we can wait some more time so as to have a watertight bill,” said Zakia, as per a report by The Indian Express.
Notably, the primary objection of most opposition parties when the Bill was tabled during the winter session was to the criminalisation provision. Although the proposed legislation does make the offence a cognisable one, BMMA has suggested that it should be made so only at the instance of the wife to prevent any misuse.
The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan was also one of the interveners in the Shayara Bano case in the Supreme Court.