The Truth Behind Growing Cases Of Triple Talaq In India
“My husband gave me Triple Talaq when I refused to give him two lakh rupees for his sister’s daughter’s wedding,” says 55-year-old Khursheeda. Her husband divorced her through Triple Talaq in June this year—more than a year and a half after the Supreme Court held the tradition unconstitutional back in August 2017. “He told me either to give him the money or to leave the house,” says Khursheeda. The resident of Kailashpur, a small village in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh has been married for over 35 years now and has six children—three boys and three girls.
Despite Khursheeda and her husband knowing that Triple Talaq is no longer legal in the country, he divorced her using it. In addition, he along with his relatives and elders from the community pressurized her and the children to leave the house. “He and his brothers have also come to beat me up twice since.”
She claims that they even forced her to practice Iddat (An Islamic tradition which requires a married woman to pray and practice abstinence after either her husband dies or in case of estrangement) which she followed for a few days before giving it up on the advice of her lawyer, Farha Faiz. Khursheeda tells SheThePeople.TV that she wasn’t allowed to step back into her house until she filed an FIR against her husband. On being asked what she wanted, Khursheeda says that she wants her husband to be punished.
- More cases of Triple Talaq are being reported now.
- These cases are not necessarily cases that have emerged after the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019. There are also cases which took place earlier but are being registered now.
- The Law has created a sense of fear among Muslim men refraining them from pronouncing Triple Talaq, as per experts.
- Activists believe that law against Triple Talaq should be a criminal law to end the practice.
Cases of Triple Talaq On A Rise?
Khursheeda’s case is one among several cases of triple talaq cropping up from different parts of the country particularly after The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 was passed less than a month ago criminalising Triple Talaq. In less than a month, the capital city has seen five cases of triple talaq registered. Uttar Pradesh has a number of triple talaq cases being registered on a daily basis in the state.
A woman from Shamli complained against her husband after he divorced her through Triple Talaq and now threatens that she will ‘immolate’ herself if she does not get justice. Several other women have filed similar complaints and now seek justice.
Older cases being reported now
Supreme Court lawyer Farha Faiz, who has been working on such cases, says, “Triple Talaq cases have always existed in the country but earlier the Maulanas and Muslim Personal Board used to handle these cases instead of these cases being reported to the police. Now that cases are being filed with the police, one can analyze how violent this practice has been and how subjugated Muslim women were that they did not have a solution to Triple Talaq. Today, when they have finally found a legal recourse to Triple Talaq, they are finally reporting these cases.” Faiz is the president of the Rashtriya Muslim Mahila Sangh.
Zakia Soman, the founder of the Mumbai-based women’s rights group BMMA or Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (Indian Muslim Women’s Movement), agrees with Faiz and says that cases have always been there and that’s how the movement happened. “For the first time now, there is legal recourse and the women now are making use of it,” Triple Talaq petitioner, Soman says.
Hasina Khan, another Triple Talaq petitioner who is a staunch critic of the law and runs Bebaak Collective, says, “We feared that this surge in cases will happen. The extremist position that the state has taken, it has provoked men a lot. We wanted a negotiable space within the bill but the government has criminalised it leaving no space for any settlement.”
Proper counselling required
As per Faiz, earlier Muslim women filed cases under the Domestic Violence Act. “Their husbands had thrown them out of the houses but today those husbands are taking their wives back home. But we need to have proper counselling of such couples,” she adds, noting that in Saharanpur there is a family counselling centre run by the state police. The couples seek counselling for a total of three months where both partners divulge their issues with one another and the officials sort them out before they are allowed to live together again.
Criminal law has inculcated fear
Inspector Kalpana Tyagi, Mahila Cell In-Charge at Saharanpur police station spoke about counselling these couples and says that in these cases they try for maintenance for the wife but now they also file FIR in Triple Talaq cases. “If a woman mentions that her husband has given her divorce through Triple Talaq then officers file an FIR in such cases,” says Tyagi adding that while she hasn’t witnessed any case of Triple Talaq since the law was passed, there have been many cases even after Supreme Court banned it.
“People have become more aware after the law has been formulated. Muslim men won’t use it out of fear of getting punished. Supreme Court may have revoked Triple Talaq in 2017 but there was no ground-level awareness among Muslims about that verdict,” says Tyagi.
“People have become more aware after the law has been formulated. Muslim men won’t use it out of fear of getting punished. Supreme Court may have revoked Triple Talaq in 2017 but there was no ground-level awareness among Muslims about that verdict”
Law to Punish Muslim Men?
Some might argue that the Act penalizes every Muslim man who commits Triple Talaq with up to three years of jail. Faiz retorts, “Until we criminalise it, there will be no fear among Muslim men. Other social evils like child marriage, dowry, domestic violence etc. all these reduced as a norm after we criminalised these activities. Until we take such bold steps, we will not be able to implement this act better,” Faiz believes.
Soman adds to it and says, “If one doesn’t want to get punished then simply don’t commit the crime. Instead of counselling the man not to give triple talaq, all these people are concerned about the man going to jail.”