Activists seek political support on triple talaq bill, AIMPLB opposes

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Women activists on Friday sought support of all political parties in converting the triple talaq Bill into law in Parliament, even as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) termed the Bill a “direct interference in religious matters”.

The women activists said the Bill to ban triple talaq — oral divorce by Muslim men — should be converted into law in Parliament’s Winter Session so that its victims can get justice.

The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, to make the practice of triple talaq an offence.

The AIMPLB said it is against ‘Shariat’ and asked the Centre to consult the Muslim organisation before making any such law, after the Bill was approved by the Cabinet.

Activist Zakir Soman claimed the board and the Muslim community are not taking proper care of triple talaq victims, and such women should get justice from the law.

“If the community and the board were doing enough, why would triple talaq victims be approaching women’s organisations?” asked Soman.

“We will not give up our constitutional and legal entitlements. We are all citizens of a democracy and living in the 21st century. We are entitled, educated, and empowered, and want justice as per the law of the land…,” the activist said.

According to Soman, they have written to Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury for support in ensuring the passage of Bill in Parliament.

“It is not a matter of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress or any other political party. It is the responsibility of all political parties and their representatives and all women in this country,” she said.

Opposing the proposed law, AIMPLB member Maulana Khalid Rashid said: “As far as the divorced women’s rehabilitation is concerned, the Muslim community is already doing it. So, we consider the Bill as a direct interference in the religious matters of our community. It is an attack on our religious freedom…”

“Women are not being tortured in the name of triple talaq. Muslim women have said they do not want changes in the community’s personal laws, including on triple talaq. If certain people are misusing such laws it doesn’t mean you will completely end it. It is part of our ‘Shariat’. The government should at least have consulted Muslim organisations before making any such law.”

Woman activist Hina Zaheer said: “According to the Quran, there is no provision for instant talaq… So, it should not be a matter of prestige for the board. Since the board failed to resolve the issue, a lot of politics has been done on it.”

According to the draft Bill sent out to the states earlier this month, it was proposed that triple talaq be made a cognisable and non-bailable offence, attracting three years in jail.

The draft law was prepared in the backdrop of the August verdict of the Supreme Court that struck down the practice of “instant” divorce as illegal.

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