Women’s organisations write to Union Law Minister

Against Muslim women’s Bill, say will increase their woes

February 09, 2018 01:37 am | Updated 01:37 am IST - New Delhi

RPT: New Delhi: Shabnam Hashmi, social activist, human rights campaigner speaks during a news  conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.  Hashmi returned the National Minority Award conferred upon her in protest against the incidents of mob lynching of innocent minority community people. PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore (PTI6_27_2017_000120B)

RPT: New Delhi: Shabnam Hashmi, social activist, human rights campaigner speaks during a news conference in New Delhi on Tuesday. Hashmi returned the National Minority Award conferred upon her in protest against the incidents of mob lynching of innocent minority community people. PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore (PTI6_27_2017_000120B)

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and other women’s organisations came together on Thursday stating that they had written to the Union Law Minister against passage of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017.

‘Extremely surprised’

The letter to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad read: “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.”

“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 and triple talaq is being used to demonise the minority community, especially the Muslim man,” said social activist Shabnam Hashmi.

Many other social activists and members of women’s organisations said they are against triple talaq but also do not support the fact that the Bill aims to criminalise the Act. The activists pointed out that by making triple talaq a non-bailable offence, it would only increase the woes of women as it would be difficult for them to get maintenance from the husband.

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 and has 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.”

Chance of reconciliation

“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,” said Maimoona Mollah, president of Delhi Janwadi Mahila Samiti.

The members have demanded that the Bill be referred to a standing committee to take into account arguments put forth by those affected by it.

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