All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and several other women’s rights groups have collectively written a letter to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to expressing their concern against criminalisation of triple talaq.

“We are extremely surprised that neither the Muslim women nor women’s organisations or the others concerned with the issue were consulted before the present Bill was very hastily drafted. We feel that the Bill is flawed for a number of reasons, including the fact that it criminalises triple talaq,” said the letter.

“If you go by logic, the Bill is not required as the Supreme Court has already outlawed it. This is now turning into a political game. Triple talaq is being used to demonise the minority community, especially the Muslim man,” said social activist Shabnam Hashmi.

The legislative order of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 constitutes three years of imprisonment for offenders of Triple Talaq, made a non-bailable offence.

“If the man is sent to jail, the minutest chance of reconciliation between the couple is lost. This is a political move and does not keep in mind concerns for the woman. It will only increase harassment,”

Even when Prasad had floated the bill in Lok Sabha, Triple Talaq petitioner Hasina Khan had objected the bill. She specifically wrote a Facebook post showing her objection against the bill. Khan had said that criminalising the bill will lead to putting more Muslim men behind bars. She had also said that it would make it difficult for Muslim women to get maintenance from their husbands.

Kirti Singh, legal convener of the AIDWA, said, “By making the offence cognizable and non-bailable, the government wants to permit anyone to file an FIR. It has also not restricted this to the woman concerned or even her relatives. This means that anyone from the public can use the section and allege that the crime has been committed. We feel that this section will be counterproductive and will further aggravate the economic condition of the wife and children, who will not be able to ask for suitable maintenance if the husband is in jail.”

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Another women’s rights activist Maimoona Mollah believes that this would lead to no chance of reconciliation between the couple.

“If the man is sent to jail, the minutest chance of reconciliation between the couple is lost. This is a political move and does not keep in mind concerns for the woman. It will only increase harassment,” she said.

The letter seeks a standing committee to review the bill and consider the arguments of those victimized by it.

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