Context: National Commission for Minorities organised a virtual conference on the occasion of Muslim Women Rights Day, celebrated on August 1st.
More on the news:
- 1st August is a day which made Muslim women free from social evil of Triple Talaq, as on the day the law criminalizing triple talaq was passed in 2019.
- It has been recorded in the country’s history as “Muslim Women Rights Day”.
- Shayara Bano case (2017): In this case, the Supreme Court of India declared triple talaq, which enables Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives, to be unconstitutional.
- The minority opinion suggested the Parliament to consider appropriate legislation governing triple talaq in the Muslim community.
- In this backdrop, the Parliament of India enacted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, criminalising triple talaq.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019:
- The law makes all declarations of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void and illegal.
- It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.
- Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
- Offence and penalty: The act makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years imprisonment with a fine.
- The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by:
- The married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or
- Any person related to her by blood or marriage.
- Magistrate may grant bail to the accused: Only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
- The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate: Upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared).
- Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute.
- Allowance: A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.
- Custody: A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children.
Status of Triple Talaq in Muslim majority countries
- Several Muslim-majority nations of the world had declared Triple Talaq as illegal and un-Islamic much earlier.
- Egypt was the first Muslim nation which abolished this social evil in 1929.
- Sudan in 1929, Pakistan in 1956, Bangladesh in 1972, Iraq in 1959, Syria in 1953, Malaysia in 1969 had abolished the practice of Triple Talaq.
- Besides, countries such as Cyprus, Jordan, Algeria, Iran, Brunei, Morocco, Qatar, UAE also ended this social evil many years ago.
Impact of the law:
- According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, since the law against Triple Talaq was passed, a decline of about 82 percent in Triple Talaq cases is seen.
- Ensured right to equality (Article 14) and has strengthened “self-reliance, self-respect and self-confidence” of the Muslim women of the country.
- The law is a step towards ensuring gender equality and strengthening constitutional, fundamental and democratic rights of the Muslim women.
The day will help Muslim Women in realising the goals of Political Empowerment and not Political Exploitation and push governments to undertake bold and big reforms for emancipation of Muslim Women.
Image Source: DDNews
National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992
- The act defines a minority as “a community notified as such by the Central government.''
- The Government of India has declared six religions namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist and Parsis (Zoroastrian) and Jain as religious minorities in India.
- Under this act, the government formed the National Commission for Minorities which consist of Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and five Members.
- The five Members including the Chairperson shall be from amongst the minority communities.
- The commission monitors the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures.
- It also makes recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments.