Monday, May 27, 2024

Triple Talaq nothing but a criminal act: Arif Mohammad Khan

Arif Mohammad Khan, once a politician now a social activist, has no doubt that “Triple Talaq’ is a criminal act and must be declared so by the Modi government, now in its second term.

“Marriage and divorce indeed is a civil matter but when you resort to “triple talaq” it becomes a criminal issue,” said  Khan in an interview to Public broadcaster Doordarshan this week.

The Triple Talaq Bill is taking a third shot at redemption in Rajya Sabha now after it was halted in the Upper House twice in 2017 and 2018, outlawing the practice and attracting a three-year jail term for the husband.

The blockade in Rajya Sabha by the Opposition, led by Congress, is on the pretext that “criminalizing” triple talaq would be a draconian measure and could be used as a weapon to terrorize the husbands.

Rubbishing the excuse Khan gave a historical perspective to buttress his point.

“Quran tries its hardest to save a marriage.

“It recommends three measures to ensure a marriage lasts: (a) counselling; (b) sleep apart without physical relations in bed; (c) cite examples of misery which accompanies a divorce.

“If all three fail, then a mediator each is appointed from both the families. If they too fail, then divorce could happen.

“However, you still have to carry on for another three months. If still you have no physical relations, then the Quran asks you to be separated as staying together would be harmful now.”

Khan then cites an example from the reign of second Caliph Umar who asked a husband to be punished with 40 lashes after he thrice followed the trick of divorcing and then cohabiting with his wife within three months and then divorcing her again.

“It’s well established that Triple Talaq is criminal. If the entire Sharia (Islamic) Law is based on Quran, then how can its tenets be violated,” questions Khan.

Khan, who earned his spurs when he resigned from Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress government in 1986 for overturning a Supreme Court verdict in favour of maintenance amount for a destitute Muslim woman, Shah Bano, divorced by way of triple talaq by her husband, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, urging him to make the Triple Talaq Bill a criminal law.

“Unless Triple Talaq is made into a criminal law, the abhorrent practice–now forbidden even in most Muslim countries–wouldn’t serve the purpose.”

Khan made an interesting observation that as per a news report, most Sharia Adalats (Sharia Courts) in Uttar Pradesh haven’t seen a case for the last nine months. “That’s because 90 per cent of all cases involving Muslim community belong to the issue of triple talaq.”

“You look at list of Fatwas (strictures) and 90 per cent of cases involve triple talaq….(So) if you end triple talaq, 90 per cent cases would be over.

“In the Quran, this is sin, this is forbidden. So thus even according to the Holy Book, it’s a criminal act.”

Khan was hopeful that the long-awaited Triple Talaq Bill would formally see light soon.

“I am hopeful that this time the ordinance criminalizing triple talaq would be passed by Rajya Sabha as there is a lot of churning taking place and people are talking about what happened in 1986 (Shah Bano case),” he said.

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