When Sheep Fight for the Wolves



ON 22nd August, 2017 the Hon’ble Supreme Court held ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or triple talaq to be violative of ‘Right to Equality’ as enshrined in the Constitution of India, and what naturally and in due course of nature followed was the introduction of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament – what has followed since then is: endless chest-thumping of the Mullahs, constant browbeating of the opposition, ever present squabbles on news channels, and what not! But even amidst all this chaos & cacophony one would have never expected the Muslim women themselves to come out and protest the said bill. One must sit and ponder over the nature of circumstances which led to this bizarre an outcome, where the prisoners are fighting their instrument of liberation.

In many of these rallies which are quite exhaustively being covered by the national media – with perhaps even more frenzy than the actual protesters – one gets to witness placards and slogans saying – “WE JUST WANT TO SHARIYAH ONLY” (makes one wonder whether Shariya will be okay with them abridging pop song lyrics for slogan?), “TEEN TALAQ BILL WAPAS LO” (i.e. take back triple talaq bill), “WE DO NOT NEED TRIPLE TALAQ BILL WE NEED JUSTICE AND PROTECTION” (seriously?), and the most overused slogan of all time – “ISLAM IN DANGER!” One would presume that Islam would be in danger by the misdeeds of those who commit systematic violence in its name, but according to them it seems that a law made with the intent to unshackle Indian Muslim women from the age-old practice of capricious, whimsical and irrevocable method of divorce seems to place Islam in harm’s way.

One must not forget that similar rallies were held in support of a triple talaq law sometime ago by Muslim women who had no obligations to, or were not members of any political party, for they were in the truest sense inspired by the need to revolt against the ever possible fear of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ looming over their head like the sword of Damocles. A Muslim man using ‘talaq-e-biddat’ can arbitrarily revoke the marriage by just three simple pronouncements of “talaq, talaq, talaq” without any reason or rhyme, leaving the woman to the streets. The present rallies are being organised, supported and purported to be supported by All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and/or its sister organisations. On a different note, let’s hope that there is no fatwa issued against the author for having used the feminine qualifying term “sister” for describing AIMPLB affiliated organisations.

AIMPLB is an organisation run by select few people who have no democratic way of selecting members. Members are selected by members and thus are obviously selected only if they too agree with their stance, policies and agendas, thereby curbing any chance of whiff of fresh ideas finding its way in the institution. AIMPLB to many may seem as ancient as Abraham, but it was conceived and delivered by the Congress in 1973. Speaking of the deliveries of Congress, how can one forget The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986? The Act Congress government delivered after much labour, to nullify the judgment of the Supreme Court in Shah Bano case and restricted the right of Muslim divorcées to alimony from their former husbands for only 90 days after the divorce i.e. till the completion of observance of the mandatory period of ‘Iddat’. In the light of above facts one may question the intention of Congress given that it is still stalling the passing of the bill in Rajya Sabha. Surely Congress has proved its undying faith & loyalty to vote bank politics time and again, and it should be heavily rewarded too for the same.

The fake news reports want people to believe that more than 20,000 Muslim women are registering their silent protests against the Bill; perhaps tomorrow they will say the number is 40,000, either way it would be against the rules of good governance to heed to populist views when they support a practice as opposed to reason as white is to black, and more so when the said practice has been expressly declared illegal by the highest court of the land. Law, reason and prudence should not be kept shackled by the chains of populist views.

Even if for argument’s sake one were to inspect the assertion that – since 20,000 odd Muslim women are opposing the Bill then it logically follows that the majority of Muslim women do not want it to be implemented; the hollowness of the said assertion would become apparent when one would take into fact that in a country where the Muslim women populace is nearing 10 Crores, even if 50,000 Muslim women were to take the streets to protest the Bill, it would in no way deem to be a reflection of the want of majority of Muslim women.

Moreover, as ‘talaq-e-biddat’ is just one form of the talaq as practiced by Muslims in India. ‘Talaq’, namely, divorce at the instance of the husband, is of three kinds – ‘talaq-e-ahsan’, ‘talaq-e-hasan’ and ‘talaq-e-biddat’. As per Islam – ‘talaq-e-ahsan’, and ‘talaq-e-hasan’ are both approved by the ‘Quran’ and ‘hadith’. ‘Talaq-e-ahsan’, is considered as the most reasonable form of divorce, whereas, ‘talaq-e-hasan’ is also considered as reasonable, unlike ‘talaq-e-biddat’ which is neither recognized by the ‘Quran’ nor by ‘hadith’, and as such, is to not be considered as sacrosanct to Muslim religion. The same was observed by the Supreme Court in its order dated 22nd August, 2017. In the light of these facts one would wonder as to why so much hullaballoo over the Bill? Unless of course if the reason for protest had less to with the actual practices of the Islam and more to do with the whims and desires of those powerful in Muslim organisations – who sure know how to look after their comforts and convenience.

In past, practices like ‘sati’ and ‘baal-vivaah’ have been done away with by means of legislation. Triple talaq is an idea which has run its course and is now ripe to enter into History textbooks where it rightfully belongs. The Left’s anti-national forces aligned with vote bank politicians and armed with the loud cannons of fake news shall fight the Bill tooth and nail, but if the dream of Uniform Civil Code as enshrined in Article 44 of the Constitution by Ambedkar and other great leaders is to ever realise – then the Bill has to be implemented!

Author: Gaurav Chaubey (Advocate)

Published: April 02, 2018

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