Analysis/ From Shahbano to Shayara Bano, triple talaq issue reached Parliament twice in 34 years, this practice now a crime under new law

First 1985 and now 2019. There were two occasions in 34 years, when the issue of Triple Talaq reached the Parliament after going to Supreme Court after going to the Parliament and made a law on it. In 1985, Shahbano got her right through Supreme Court but the court’s decision was made ineffective by making a law through Parliament. But this time the Parliament has passed such a bill which will make Triple Talaq a criminal offence.

This bill has been possible due to the bold initiative of Shayara Bano. Shayara Bano, 40, knocked the door of the Supreme Court against Triple Talaq. Her husband sent her a divorce note through telegram. On the petition of Shayara, in August 2017, the Supreme Court pronounced the judgment and declared 3 talaq as unconstitutional.

Shayara Bano was original petitioner:The fight against triple talaq, though supported by a number of women’s rights activists, was led by the victims themselves. Shayara Bano from Uttarakhand, emerged as the defining persona in the legal battle against the patriarchal custom that was declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

Bano was the original petitioner in the case after she approached the court in 2016 demanding that the talaq-e-biddat pronounced by her husband be held as illegal. She also disputed that such one-sided, sudden and irreversible form of divorce be declared illegal, contending that the practice of triple talaq infringed the fundamental rights of Muslim women.

What this bill is: The triple talaq bill makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat in spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat illegal. Talaq-e-biddat refers to the pronouncement of talaq three times by a Muslim man in one sitting to his wife resulting in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

What will be the effects:  The triple talaq bill also makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat congnisable offence that gives a police officer powers to arrest the offender without requiring a warrant.

To check misuse of cognisable nature of the offence, the triple talaq bill makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat only if the complaint is filed by the aggrieved woman or any of her relation by blood or marriage.

A Muslim man pronouncing instant triple talaq attracts a jail term of three years under the triple talaq bill. The accused under the triple talaq bill is entitled to bail, which can be granted by a magistrate. But the bail can be granted only after the magistrate has heard the aggrieved woman.

Bill also provides scope for reconciliation: The triple talaq bill also provides scope for reconciliation without undergoing the process of nikah halala if the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings and settle the dispute.

Nikah halala refers to practice under which a divorced Muslim woman has to marry another man and consummate the marriage and get a divorce. Only then can she be eligible to remarry her former husband.

Woman is entitled to demand a maintenance: A woman divorced through talaq-e-biddat is entitled to demand a maintenance for her and her dependent children under the triple talaq bill. The magistrate has the power to determine the amount of subsistence allowance.

Under the triple talaq bill, the divorced Muslim woman is entitled to seek custody of minor children. This would be determined by a magistrate.null