Triple Talaq; just a spanner in the works

Modi government has chosen the way of Ordinance to make the controversial practice of Triple Talaq, a penal offence. The government has asserted its will to provide gender equality among the Muslims where the practice of instantaneous Divorce has created a societal problem.

Though, this type of Divorce doesn’t have the Quranic injunction, it has been prevalent among all Muslim societies around the World. In recent years many Muslim countries have declared this practice to be illegal however, in India, a social problem took a completely political hue with the assorted opposition calling it a threat to the way of life of the second largest majority in the Country.

The fundamentalists leading the AIMPLB, All India Muslim Personal Law Board declared War against the government and against the Muslim Women who petitioned the SC for Justice. Government tried the Parliamentary method to alleviate the pain of the Muslim women but failed as Opposition in RajyaSabha united. The government had no other way out as it staked its credibility to pass the Muslim Women (Protection Of Rights On Marriage) Bill, 2017. Ordinance was the only way out and government took up the challenge.

All good things needs intent and a strong political will, the government has shown the intent and the will to ameliorate Muslim Women, it is a welcome sign. Especially, as it establishes Narendra Modi’s favourite tag line ‘56” ka seena’ as the way out of an impasse‘.

What has intrigued us as Hindus is lack of same will and intent in case of any of the promises made by the BJP in their manifesto of 2014 and earlier resolutions passed by the National Executives over the decades?

Ram Mandir, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code have been there for ages, we understand that a majority in both the Houses of the Parliament is a requirement to pass any Bill which can become the Law. And BJP lacks majority is a known fact but the enthusiasm and alacrity shown by the government in taking the Ordinance route is confusing to the layman. It maybe a ruse to divide the Muslim electorate on lines of gender equality or gender justice but who buys this argument is the question.

The intent of Gender Justice is a noble thought but the inhuman practices of Nikah Halala, Muta’h are worse than this evil of Triple Talaq. The government should have come up with comprehensive Bill on Rights Of Muslim Women which empowers them on the same scale as Hindu Women are, rather than piecemeal approach of tinkering here and there. If Ordinance is the only way out then it could be done by a Comprehensive shakeup than just one aspect of Gender Equality.

The more pressing and contentious issues have been left out to accommodate only one is sad commentary on the way issues are tackled by the government of Narendra Modi.

The evils of Article 370 are self evident from the situation which the country is facing in Kashmir Valley. The Hindus of Kashmir have been systematically wiped out to establish a Nizam i Mustafa, where we lose our Braves to the insidious design of our neighbour, Pakistan. The idea of India as a Secular Nation is under a threat not by the fringe but by the elements who want to destroy this country through violent means of Islamic Jihad. If it was time to show the 56”, it should have been on Article 370 rather than some sad piece of Personal Law.

One of the most insidious piece of legislation has been the Right To Education Act with its Constitutional mandate. Initially, it applied to all schools which fulfilled the intent on part of the government to provide education to all till the age of 15. However, the SC in an atrocious judgement ruled that Minorities Run institutions will be exempted from the Act.

This one judgement has sounded the death knell of all Hindu run schools in the country. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, schools and institutions run by either an individual Hindu or Hindu religious establishments or Trusts are feeling the heat. Everyone of them is obligated by law to fill 25% of their seats by Economically Weaker section students.

It is a fine piece of legislation per se but the deviant nature of the SC judgement has demonised the Act. Simply put, Muslim or Christian students belonging to weaker sections have to be given admissions by law but it doesn’t apply vice a versa ie., minorities run institutions by Muslims or Christians are not bound by the Act to give admissions to children from Hindu community.

Modi government should have sought feedback on Right To Education and brought about comprehensive change to level the playing field. It has acted to Kill the Hindus run schools making them economically unviable thereby leading to closure of many such schools. While, the minorities who are under no such obligations have prospered at the expense of Hindus.

Any legislation based on Public Good or Welfare must meet the standards of equality if the desired objective is to be achieved. Right To Education Act is one such piece of Law which doesn’t stand scrutiny of justice and equality. Government should have brought in amendments to the law and remade a level playing field for the actors.

Directive Principles of the State delve upon the State to bring a Uniform Civil Code in the country. BJP for ages has been a strong votary of the need for a Common Code for all communities, it is imperative in a democracy that all subjects are governed by same set of rules rather than different rules depending on the religious affiliation of its subjects. However, government’s response to this demand has been lukewarm at the best, it has fiddled over its implementation, coming out with a questionnaire for the public.

The very fact that the government needs a questionnaire to implement what is good in Law is disturbing, it raises questions on the intent of the government of whether it wants to bring an equitable law or it wants to polarise its constituency on communal terms.

Opposition has played the Minority Card on the issue of Common Civil Code as was the wont. Most in the opposition believe it to be a merely polarising issue rather than a genuine reflection on equitable law for the society. Government must deal with it as a question of Social Equality and implement the Uniform Civil Code as per Directive Principles, the counter argument is that Directive Principles are mere directions not enforceable by Law.

What we tend to forget is that these are enshrined in the Constitution for implementation at an appropriate time with the maturing of Indian democracy. These cannot be enforced by an individual but can be legislated by the Parliament to become the Law.

The Ordinance on Triple Talaq is nothing but just a spanner in the works, it is destabilising if not followed by comprehensive change to bring about equality and a level playing field in matters that are much more important than a piece of Personal Law which affects a minuscule population. It is in no way to belittle the effort of the government to bring about Gender Equality but it is not even a baby step in the way forward to completely eradicate inherent gender discrimination prevalent in most communities in general and Muslims in particular.

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