New Delhi: Some women activists have condemned the government’s decision to make instant triple talaq a penal offence, calling it a “politicised move” without taking into consideration the complications it could pose to Muslim women. The Union cabinet has cleared an ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Wednesday, citing compelling necessity for the move as the practice annulled by the Supreme Court continues unabated.
Kavita Krishnan, activist and Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), questioned, “Why only Muslim men are getting punished for abandoning their wives, why not Hindu men?” “Triple talaq is not an official divorce, it is a form of abandonment. Does an Hindu man gets imprisoned for abandoning his wife? We do not agree with the government’s decision to make it a criminal offence,” Krishnan told PTI over phone.
Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women’s general secretary, said she doubts the “intention and sincerity” of the government in introducing ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence. “There needs to be a comprehensive law. There are many issues related to triple talaq that need to be dealt with. But the government has taken this step for political gains in the upcoming elections. There are issues related to maintenance of women and children after her husband goes to jail, no one is talking about them,” she said. “If the government is so concerned about the welfare of women why is it keeping mum on women reservation bill. That would empower them too, why no word on that?” she added.
Shabnam Hashmi, a women rights activist, said criminalising triple talaq intends to polarise people. “It was banned by the Supreme Court, criminalising it would polarise people ahead of the general elections,” Hashmi said. General secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association, Mariam Dhawale, said the move would create most problems for Muslim women only. “It would leave them (Muslim women) nowhere. What about property rights of the women and her children after triple talaq, there needs to be clarity on that,” Dhawale added.