Triple Talaq Bill: Heralding new dawn of justice for Muslim women

News Bharati    03-Aug-2019   
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Tuesday, the 29th July 2019 will go down in the annals of history of Independent India as a Red Letter Day. The historic passage of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 heralded the new dawn in the life of nearly 8.5 crore Muslim women living in constant fear of Instant Triple Talaq or Talaq-E-Biddat.

With the passage of this bill, the country and the government took a big step forward in correcting the historical wrong. As Union Home Minister Amit Shah described “this is not just an enactment of one more law, it is a step towards establishing gender equality.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, with the passage of this bill India has done away with the archaic, medieval practice that hanged like a Damocles’ Sword over the Muslim eves. With this, India has also joined those 23 Islamic countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh that have banned this practice of Triple Talaq long ago.

India is the only non-Muslim country that boasts of having the largest Muslim population in the South Asian region. Yet, the Muslim women in India where women are held in high esteem were allowed to suffer under this draconian custom.

Even after the seven decades of independence, the condition of these hapless Muslim women did not change as the successive governments that ruled the country in those years did not dare touch the dangerously outdated and bad custom in vogue in Muslim community for fear of losing their committed votes. They allowed these women to rot and rust tied in these shackles of Talaq-E-Biddat in the name of religion. Nothing could be the greatest sin than this, but hardly these power and vote-hungry politicians realized that.

Therefore, the credit must be given to BJP-NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting this bill passed in both the Houses of the Parliament and liberating the crores of Muslim women from the bondage and fear of this inhuman, anti-Islam, anti-Quran and anti-Prophet custom. The passage of this legislation shows commitment of Modi government on social reforms notwithstanding the resistance from the opposition parties – mainly the Congress and the Communists.

President accords consent to Bill:

With the consent of the President Ram Nath Kovind, the triple talaq bill that was cleared by both the Houses of the Parliament has become an Act of the Indian Parliament. A gazette notification about the same has been published and the Act will now replace the ordinance earlier promulgated in the regard.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 makes talaq-e-biddat or the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce by Muslim men a criminal offence. While triple talaq had earlier been made illegal by a Supreme Court judgement, the act makes the offence punishable with imprisonment up to three years along with a fine. It also allows any person related to the woman by blood or by marriage to report the offence.

Congress twisted Shahbano case verdict:

Thirty three years ago in 1986 the Supreme Court gave its verdict in Shahbano case and provided an opportunity to the then Rajiv Gandhi led Congress government which enjoyed the ‘brute’ majority in the Parliament to enact a legislation banning this inhuman practice. But instead, the Congress government preferred to bring in a Constitutional amendment negating the Supreme Court verdict!


Again in 2016, one Muslim woman Shayara Bano approached the Supreme Court in Muslim Women’s Quest for Equality case and the court gave the verdict in her favour. It also asked the government to frame the law banning instant triple talaq.

The Narendra Modi government did try to bring legislation in the Parliament for banning this custom. While the Lok Sabha passed the bill the Rajya Sabha did not. And this happened twice during NDA I forcing Modi government to issue ordinance twice. In his 2018 Independent Speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Prime Minister reiterated his resolve to rid the Muslim women of this bondage of triple talaq.

During the NDA II, the BJP secured an assailable majority in the Lok Sabha and improved its tally in the Upper House which facilitated the passage of this historic bill on July 29.

Talaq most despicable crime:

MRM Patron Indresh Kumar explained that talaq is considered crime and that too a most despicable one by the Allah. Therefore, those who issue triple talaq to their wives are sinners in the eyes of Allah. He said even accepting an argument of some of the Islamic leaders that marriage is a contract as per Islamic tenets, this contract is signed before the Khuda making it an unbreakable contract. This is given a concrete shape on the earth. Since Islam does not believe in rebirth, this contract thus becomes a lifetime contract, he said. Even as they have to wait till Qayamat, this eventually becomes a contract lasting till that last moment of ‘Qayamat’.


Instant triple talaq is against the Islamic tenets, says Indresh Kumar. It is violation of the Quran and Hadith. Neither the Prophet, the 24-25 Nabis nor the scriptures permit such instant triple talaq, he said. The very word ‘talaq’ if pronounced, shakes the balance of the nature.

Those who honour this contract till their last breathe are considered as ‘Khuda Ke Bande’ while those who dishonour it by way of triple talaq are “Khuda ke Gunahgaar”.

Moreover, Khuda proclaimed: “The heaven (Jannat) lies at the feet of Mother”. If a man wants to secure his ‘jannat’ he should honour and respect women in all her forms as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. If he gives talaq to his wife, he is sure to lose his place in ‘Jannat’.

The role of MRM:

Some 30-35 Muslim women had moved the courts against triple talaq given to them by their husbands. They were pressurized to withdraw the cases; they were intimidated and even offered compromise. But they did not budge from their resolve. Taking inspiration from their resolve, the MRM decided to launch a massive awareness campaign against this evil custom. The first national level Muslim women’s convention was held at Pune in 2005 from where the MRM blew the bugle of this campaign under the leadership of Indresh Kumar.

The MRM organized women’s conferences at Jaipur, Lucknow, Delhi, Bhopal and Ajmer to intensify its campaign and to drive home the futility of triple talaq. The 2015 Ajmer conference was attended by 7500 Muslim women coming from all the states of India from Gujarat to Manipur and from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu. The congregation had passed the resolution demanding immediate repeal of this outdated custom of triple talaq and restoration of women’s rights, honour and dignity in the society.


The BJP too made this an issue in their election campaign in 2014. After winning a single-handed majority, the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried twice to get the bill passed in the Parliament. But the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP/NDA did not enjoy majority, the obstinate Congress and other secular members did not allow the passage of this bill forcing the Modi Government to issue ordinances twice.

But in 2019, Prime Minister Modi got a chance to fulfil the promise he made to the crores of Muslim women from the Red Fort in 2018 to deliver them from this bondage. The BJP did excellent floor management in the Rajya Sabha to secure the requisite majority and got the bill passed by the Upper House.

This is indeed a historic moment for India and the Muslim women who silently suffered the injustice in the name of triple talaq. Now they will not be subjected to such inhuman atrocities under this draconian custom. As Prime Minister Modi described this moment of joy and happiness as India threw the archaic, medieval practice to dustbin of history.

The Secular outrage:

Those who opposed this bill for the fear of losing their vote banks have raised the objection on making it a criminal offence and provision of three-year jail term for the husbands. Their argument: “The bill was ok. Delivering Muslim women from this bondage was all right. But why make it criminal offence?”

Leaders like Kapil Sibal, Gulam Nabi Azad, Derek O’Brian, and their compatriots criticized the Bill and raised objections on making it a criminal offence. What will happen to the woman once her husband is put to suffer three-year prison term on giving triple talaq, they asked.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has been opposing this reform from the beginning. As Indresh Kumar described the AIMPLB is the illegal, immoral outfit of Islam. No country in the world has such a body of Muslims. Even in India it came into existence in 1975 purely for political reasons. A very senior member of the AIMPLB Dr Mohammad Shabbir had opposed the Board’s views on triple talaq and finally resigned from its membership in protest.

The AIMPLB had planned to collect signature of two crore Muslims in favour of triple talaq but hardly they succeeded. Similarly, the protest demonstrations planned by the Board at 100 places ended in a big flop.

Media’s confusion:

The so-called mainstream media too toed the Congress leaders’ line of criticism.

Wrote ‘Times of India’: “… in failing to treat triple talaq as a civil offence, as in any other messy divorce case, it may conceivably end up doing more harm than good to the woman”.

It also stated: “From Congress ‘appeasement of minorities … the pendulum has now swung to the other extreme where under a Hindutva-oriented government, the law appears to have a punitive edge for Muslim men”.

The Indian Express also voiced similar apprehensions about the bill. It said in its editorial: “Triple talaq bull was passed without legislative scrutiny it required. The paper blamed both “government and opposition” for this lapse. It also raised the question: “has the government allayed all the major apprehensions about the Bill?”…”Why deem what is essentially a civil wrong as a criminal act?” “The government has failed to give a convincing response to the Opposition’s criticism that a three-year prison term for a husband who pronounces triple talaq would end up doing the estranged wife more harm than good”.

However, the decision of the Modi government received support from a much unexpected quarter. The Telegraph of Kolkata in its editorial patted the Modi government for this bold decision. “It is ungracious to accuse Narendra Modi government of concealed intentions on the occasion of this important step. The present government’s decisiveness must be placed in the context of democratically-minded society's indisputable failure: it has for more than 70 years deplored the practice of triple talaq without doing anything about it.”

The Telegraph perceived the passage of the Bill as “ensuring for women of that faith a form of justice of which they had been cruelly deprived”.

The editorial also criticized the ostrich-like attitude of the opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha. It said, “Those opposed the bill raised their objections as a show, as though the parties that walked out or the members who were absent wanted to put their protest against the criminalization of instant triple talaq on record without taking the risk of being identified as those who opposed the bill. This could be projected as anti-women and anti-minority women. But greedy fearfulness and moralizing cannot go together.

Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah defend:

Former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the provision of prison term for the Muslim men for divorcing their wives through triple talaq. “The law would have a strong deterrent effect and errant Muslim men will think thousand times before using it due to onerous consequences of their illegality. The law has exposed many who professed to be liberals” Jaitley obliquely remarked.

Home Minister Amit Shah defending the move said that the women who fought a long battle against the triple talaq did not have any political motive. They were normal women who showed extreme courage to fight against the injustices they were subjected to since decades.

He further said that the bill has thoroughly exposed the liberals in India. These self-styled liberals who proclaimed to be champions of gender equality and justice preferred to remain silent or invented some imaginary issue to oppose the bill that sought to give justice to Muslim women.

Countywide celebrations:

Muslim women all over the country welcomed this historical enactment and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minority Welfare Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and MRM Patron Indresh Kumar for their contribution in getting this bill passed.


They organised small meetings to express their joy and gratitude and distributed sweets. MRM National Convener Reshma Hussain from Jaipur, National Convener of MRM Women’s Cell Adv Shaheen Pervez from Meerut, Seema Javed from Uttarakhand, Shahnaz Afzal from Delhi, Fatima Ali from Chennai, Adv Ayesha Sayyad from Mumbai, Farah Waseem from Nagpur, Nazneen Ansari from Varanasi and many others have expressed immense joy and satisfaction on the passage of this historic bill in favour of Muslim women.

The passage of this long awaited bill is sure to raise the stature of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the world and also in the eyes of the Muslim women. This is most needed social reform the Muslim women craved for since long time. Like Raja Ram Mohan Roy who fought relentlessly to abolish ‘Sati’ tradition from the Hindu society, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name will also go down in the annals of the history as a great reformer who brought smiles to crores of Muslim women by abolishing triple talaq.