Friday, December 22, 2017

Criminalizing civil offense – Triple Talaq in India

If the idea is wrong, then everything will be wrong.  Theory formulated from bad Idea and its application into practices, functionalities and subsequent consequences all will be wrong and counter-productive when the nucleus of this entire idea is wrong.  Meanwhile general public will have little interest in scrutinizing the fundamentals of the wrong idea, but would eventually blame everything else, thus unknowingly will believe a wrong as a right and debate on its consequences only.  Yet another misleading of ruling class, especially considering BJP’s communal stand in Indian politics. 

BJP government is keen to promulgate a new law criminalizing Tripe Talaq (uttering all three at once) seems to be an action from over excited and short sighted political hot heads trying to achieve two results.  One is to boast among majority community about their braveness of liberating poor Muslim women from the outdated and cruel religious laws and other is creating unnecessary flutter among Muslim community expecting some political mileage, yet another engagement ploy to keep them in ghetto, confused and suppressed mindset.

Nevertheless, the law will remain on paper because of lack of enforcement directives, operational models, disinterests by authorities, influences of influencing people and vote bank politics. Moreover, the law will only complicate the marital relationship of estranged couples.  Like a dowry prohibition act 1961, this will be toothless and useless due to its primitive objectives of punishing the husband without actually protecting wives.

Further by prosecuting and punishing the husband would divert the case from divorce to criminal proceedings and would permanently remove the possibility of reconciliation between couple, unless the uttering of triple talaq lead to serious offenses like murder, suicide or domestic violence.  If so, general criminal law is sufficient enough to deal with domestic violence as in the case of dowry related domestic violence or deaths.

By punishing the husband, the wife will be deprived of her maintenance from husband until she would be married again or till her death because the person supposing to give maintenance is locked under bars.  There won’t be any possibility for husband to change his mind or chances of retaining her as allowed in Islam.  Further she cannot exercise full right on husband’s assets or income if any as it will aggravate legal rights with other relatives and concerned parties.  So, by sending her husband to jail she will be gaining nothing, in fact, increasing her own problems and the society will also prevent her from doing it unless she is rich and her parents and relatives agree to help her.

The motive of the law seems to be rushing to punish the offender without looking at consequences.  Instead, I would suggest BJP government to draft a law that strongly enforces the ‘Mahr’ system of paying reasonable or good amount to wife as coded in Shariah system during marriage contract.  The Mahr system as strictly enforced in Quran is a financial security for married women.  Presently, the Mahr system is functioning well in many Arab countries and gives sense of independency to woman in addition to living with husband.  In Islamic family system, it is the responsibility for husband to provide all financial, physical and emotional needs of wife and children even if wife is richer than husband or working or having her own revenue.  She won’t need to spend even a single penny to her husband or children as protected in Quran as is her personal right. 

The Mahr system is legitimate right of wife and she has the right to demand any amount or wealth from husband prior to marriage like dowry in Hindu marriages.  By receiving the mahr, the women will be financially protected, and don’t require to approach court for maintenance  fee even at the event of punishing the husband or death.

If BJP is really interested at the welfare of women, they must follow Holy Quran and promulgate law to ensure Mahr for women.