Cong MP moves bill against ‘triple talaq’

A Congress MP has moved a bill in Rajya Sabha seeking an end to the “un-Islamic” practice of triple talaq and giving equal opportunity for women to seek divorce.

‘The Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Bill 2016’ of two-term MP from Maharashtra, Husain Dalwai, aims to codify the law and to exemplify that it is indeed possible to bring reforms within a community “without succumbing to the pressure of a uniform code”.

“The triple talaq is un-Islamic. If Pakistan and Bangladesh can do away with this, why can’t we? Why should our daughters and sisters suffer?” 73-year-old Dalwai told DH.

husain-dalwai

His private member’s bill comes at a time the Supreme Court is hearing a petition by a group of Muslim women are seeking its intervention to end triple talaq and polygamy. The instances of talaq over text messages and emails even over trivial reasons have triggered a debate among the community also.

According to the Bill, the law related to divorce is “heavily prejudiced” against women. It wants India to join the league of countries like Iraq, Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which have codified the law related to divorce that brings “certainty and removing discrimination” in the application of personal laws.

The Bill also aims at ensuring that Muslim women are not made to suffer because of unilateral pronouncement of divorce by husbands. A woman can seek divorce on a variety of reasons, including if the man has more than one wife.

Setting the procedure for dissolution of marriage outside court, the Bill said two arbiters, one each from family each spouse, should try for reconciliation between the husband and wife. If they fail, the arbiters should make the “first pronouncement” following which a waiting period of three menstrual cycles of women should commence.

The second prouncement should come if there is no reconciliation, a similar waiting period will commencement. The third and final pronouncement comes after a total of six months waiting and once made, the parties are no longer married to each other.

After this can, they can approach the court for a decree of dissolution of marriage.

“My bill seeks to achieve a contentious balance between civil rights of Muslim women and right of the community to practice their religion,” Dalwai said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 6, 2016)

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