Criminalization of Marriage Laws Like Triple Talaq Will Not Save Relationships

Yesterday (28/12/2017) the Indian government has passed the Triple Talaq bill in the Lok Sabha. The bill officially known as Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill to become a law now has to pass in the Rajya Sabha. In all likelihood the bill will pass in Rajya Sabha. Times of India mentioned there was no support for the amendments moved by AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi from the opposition parties. Trinamool Congress did not even field a speaker during the debate for the passage of Triple Talaq bill. Trinamool Congress supremo thinks that the bill has the tacit support of majority of Muslim women. And no party today wants to show itself as anti women empowerment. It does not matter whether it is done in the right way or not.

So what will happen once Triple Talaq bill will become a law. If a man pronounce or accused of giving Triple Talaq then he can be arrested and it is non bailable. That is a man cannot get a bail from police station and have to knock on the court’s door for bail. If convicted a man can be sent to jail for 3 years. Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said maintenance will be at the discretion of the court.

Now lets see if it is going to help Muslim women. My understanding is most Muslim women’s contention would be that their husband had ended their relationship abruptly through Triple Talaq. So Triple Talaq or Talaq-e-Biddat be banned. Which has been done by the supreme court of India. There are three types of Talaq (Divorce) allowed in Islam. In Islam marriage is a civil and social contract. Instead of criminalizing Triple Talaq government could have made it mandatory to follow the other two forms of Talaq or get a divorce in a court of law. To incentivise this government could have made a provision of fine in the bill. If a man is arrested because of this law, his views will become even more hardened and there will be no scope for reconciliation.

If a relationship is not working and a man wants to end the relationship there should be a fair way to do so. Criminalization of marriage laws will not help to save the relationship. History has shown that more marriage has broken and families being tormented because of criminalized marriage laws. Take the case of 498A, which has been created with a noble intention to safeguard women but has become a tool of misuse. More so these laws are being used to extort money from the husband. Triple Talaq law can also be misused as well very easily. Marriage related laws in India have no misuse clause when it is well known that they are misused. Ex justice of Delhi high court SN Dhingra has told on record that these laws are grossly misused. The Supreme court of India has told that these laws are being used as Legal Terrorism. A parliamentary committee has accepted that these laws are misused but they are not ready to add many misuse clause. On top of that they are adding more criminalized laws.

The western countries like US, UK etc has already tried criminalization of marriage issue and forced payment. It has broken down families like never before in history. People are living lonely life and dying alone. In many instances people have died and it was at least few days before anyone came to know about it. In most modern western countries divorce rate is an average of 50% or more. All these has led to increase in health issues and consequently health care expenditure. In western countries state welfare supports its citizens like NHS (National Health System) in the UK, Social Security in the US and other countries. But mind it India do not have any such measures. Family is the support system we all have in India and more so in the old age. Once it is broken on whose mercy a man will be? The government must learn from the failed processes and laws of the west. The western processes have failed even in their own countries and why we are importing them? Marriage issues should be looked in a holistic way and the process should be fair to both men and women.

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