Millennium Post

Turning traditions

There is fury yet again surrounding the provision of the bill that would add criminal connotation to the already banned practice of instant triple talaq. The Supreme Court came out in August to ban this regressive and heinous practice, sighting its tendency towards unfulfilling goals of gender equality in the country, particularly ours that is governed by the ideas of a secular law. The Triple Talaq Bill which has been cleared by the Cabinet is scheduled to go on the floors of the Parliament in the first week of January, to recognise this practice as a crime and consequently ascertain punishment that would be met out in the face of such an exigency. There is wide uproar from the AIMPLB which enforces that this law has been authored without considering the perspective of members and organisations belonging to the Muslim community; further, they also enhance that the criminality that is being associated with it would be detrimental to Muslim women, children and their families as it also does not abide by the prescribed Sharia law. The reversal of traditions or customs is often met by a known barrier of acceptance, as in practice their roots are etched deep into the practitioner's consciousness—even when it is detrimental to the subject. Since this law is specific to the Muslim community, the uproar is amplified as an anxiety of communal difference continues to pervade our country. A crucial, disruptive aspect of recognising triple talaq as a criminal offence has been outlined in Section Seven of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which is set to be tabled in the Parliament in 2018. Section Seven describes the offence of triple talaq as non-cognizable—which means that irrespective of a complaint filed by the members involved in the private sphere a public prosecution officer has the right to arrest and impose charges on the guilty without an FIR being lodged. This particular section disregards the right to privacy and is particularly disruptive as parallelly marital rape continues to be denied the space of criminality. There is a lopsidedness that dislodges the position of the Muslim man who is already being irked by a sense of alienation within the country. While it is imperative that instant triple talaq is banned and this heinous practice is shunned and adequate punishment is met out in time, terming this offence as a non-cognizable offence puts a glaring question mark on an individual's right to privacy, understanding of intimacy and scope of marital harmony. While it is essential that the government intervenes to stall this treacherous practice that has sidelined women for a long time, it is also imperative to provide currency to agentive autonomy and an individual's understanding of their personal space. Arresting a husband without complaint from the wife impeaches the holy arrangement of marriage, which the bill seeks to preserve in the very first place.
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