India’s first woman from Kerala stands up against Triple Talaq law

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Kerala – India’s first woman from Kerala Advocate Noorbeena Rasheed moved to Supreme Court against the triple talaq law by filing a petition that the novel Indian law does not warrant the “protection of women” and is quite “detrimental” in nature.

Adv. Rasheed, the general secretary of Indian Union Women League (IUWL) filed a petition to the center on 6th July 2020, which goes along side with other petitions of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, Muslim Advocates Association and others, who legally oppose the criminalization of triple talaq. Supreme court is due to hear her petition as well as other petitions.

Triple Talaq or popularly known as Talaq-e-Biddat was a typical practice of divorce in some sections of the Indian Muslim communities, where a husband can legally divorce his wife with the utterance of three words “Talaq, Talaq, Talaq”. However, according to the other schools of thought, it is not permissible under the Shariah law.

India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took an exaggerated stance against the practice by dedicating debates and discussions in the lower and upper houses of parliament in 2019. Eventually, the practice is deemed unconstitutional and punishable with up to three years of jail for the men who pronounce divorce thrice in a single instance.

According to Adv. Rasheed’s petition, “The protection of women cannot be achieved by incarceration of husbands”. According to Hindustan Times report, she also challenged the validity of a provision in the law that grants permission to relatives of the wife to file a complaint, stating that such an allowance would be “highly detrimental not only to the wife but also to the marital relationship”.

Adv. Rasheed objected that criminalization of triple talaq is to witch-hunt only one community, which gives enough reason to reveal BJP’s sinister motives.

She said, “Welfare-oriented legislation would promote amicable resolution of matrimonial disputes rather than criminalise marital discord, particularly criminalisation of only one community…the intent behind the Act is not abolition of triple talaq [instant divorce] but punishment of Muslim husbands.”

Indian government’s opposition leaders called the law a “historic mistake”, and that the government should not interfere into people’s religious matters.

Meanwhile, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and other women activists voiced strong condemnation against the law.

“Who will take care of the children when the husbands go to jail?” they ask.

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