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India’s Muslim Women criticize justification for Triple Talaq and Polygamy, tag it as ‘medieval’

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the court that triple talaq was necessary, saying men have greater reasoning power compared to women

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Muslim brides wait for the start of their mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai May 11, 2014. A total of 35 Muslim couples took wedding vows during the mass marriage ceremony organised by a Muslim voluntary organisation, organisers said. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE ALSO SEE: GF2EA830FPC01 - RTR3OO39
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– by Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI, Sept 07, 2016: Muslim women fighting to ban “triple talaq” divorce and polygamy from family civil law in India’s top court condemned on Tuesday  justifications given by Islamic clerics as “medieval” and “reeking of sexism”.

India’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed by women’s rights activists who want the judiciary to declare triple talaq – where Muslim men can divorce by simply stating their intention three times verbally – as unconstitutional.

The Indian constitution allows most religions, including  Muslims – the biggest religious minority group – to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and polygamy.

It told the court on Friday that triple talaq was necessary, saying men have greater reasoning power compared to women, and that a man giving triple talaq to his wife was a better option than murdering her or burning her alive.

The AIMPLB also argued that polygamy was a “social need” and a “blessing” as a lawful second wife was better than an unlawful mistress and added that it gave divorced or widowed women more opportunity to remarry.

“Muslim women in India have suffered because of triple talaq where arbitrary divorces declared over postcards or telegrams have been sustained,” said campaign group Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), or the India Muslim Women’s Movement.

“AIMPLB’s argument that a Muslim man can delegate his power of pronouncing talaq to his wife is laughable – this can hardly be expected to happen in real life if the wife wants a divorce but husband doesn’t,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

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The group said the AIMPLB’s justification for polygamy was “bizarre” as it had suggested the practice of a man having up to four wives stemmed from a concern and sympathy for women.

“The truth is Muslim personal laws – like other religious laws – flow from patriarchy and relegate women to second class status,” said the BMMA.

It said triple talaq had been banned in more than 20 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh while polygamy was prohibited in Turkey and Turkmenistan among other countries.

Muslims make up more than 13 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people, yet they are among some of the most marginalised communities.

Social indicators amongst Muslim women such as literacy, mortality and employment rates are lower than the national average, say activists.

Triple talaq is unilateral, arbitrary and contravenes both the constitution and the principles of gender justice in Islam, BMMA said. In India, a secular democracy, religious laws could not overwrite the constitutional right to equality, it added. (Reuters)

 

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  • Manthra koliyer

    Polygamy should not be encouraged

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Triple Talaq Now Banned In India

While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

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India
Indian Muslim women talk while walking through a market in Ahmadabad, India. VOA

India’s government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce.

The government decision came after it failed to get approval of Parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of triple “talaq” violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by the Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. The laws include allowing men to divorce by simply uttering the Arabic word “talaq,” or divorce, three times — and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.

Muslim
Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of  women, VOA News

The government will have another six months to get Parliament’s approval for the ordinance to become law. But in the meantime, suspects can be prosecuted using the ordinance.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that nearly 22 countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice and appealed to the opposition to approve the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill.

India’s Muslim Law Board had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong, they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the law board’s position.

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Muslim women hold placards during a protest against a bill passed by India’s lower house of Parliament last week that aims at prosecuting Muslim men who divorce their wives through the “triple talaq,” or instant divorce. VOA

After the Supreme Court verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government introduced a bill criminalizing the practice and it was approved in December by the lower house of Parliament, where his party commands a majority. But it couldn’t get the approval of the upper house, where the opposition controls the majority of seats.

The main opposition Congress party is opposing a three-year prison sentence for the offenders and wants a parliamentary committee to discuss the issue to reach a consensus. It favors a lesser sentence.

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In India, triple talaq has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious laws in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched. (VOA)