No solid numbers for triple talaq, but divorce data show interesting trends

What sets Muslim women apart from other women is the stark disparity with the divorce rates for men of the community

Written by ZEESHAN SHAIKH | Mumbai | Published:May 5, 2017 12:55 am
talaq, triple talaq, abolish triple talaq, muslim talaq, muslim divorce, triple divorce, three talaq, narendra modi, mahoba UP, un islamic talaq, islam, BJP, uttar pradesh elections, mizoram special status, indian express news, india news, indian express column Census 2011 recorded 13.2 lakh divorcees in India, a number that activists feel is severely underreported. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

The Supreme Court will begin, from May 11, daily hearings on the legality of oral triple talaq. There’s no concrete data, however, on the number of Muslim women who have been divorced this way. Publicly available data suggest that despite their vulnerability to arbitrary divorce, the recorded divorce rate for Muslims is not the highest among all communities in India.

Census 2011 recorded 13.2 lakh divorcees in India, a number that activists feel is severely underreported. There are 9.09 lakh female divorcees, who make up 68% of the total divorced population.

The divorce rate — number of divorcees per 1,000 marriages — in India is 2.3. For men, the divorce rate is 1.58; for women, 3.10. The gap suggests that men who divorce tend to remarry faster than women.

Among women, the divorce rate is the highest for the Buddhist community (6.73 per 1,000 marriages), followed by Christians (5.67) and Muslims (5.63). ‘Other communities’ (4.91), Jains (3.04), Hindus (2.60) and Sikhs (2.56) follow.

However, what sets Muslim women apart from other women is the stark disparity with the divorce rates for men of the community. While Buddhist men have a divorce rate of 3.0 per 1,000 marriages and Christian men 2.92 per 1,000, for Muslim men it is 1.59 — almost three times lower than the rate for Muslim women.

This suggests Muslim men do not stay single for long, and tend to remarry far more quickly than Muslim women.

Interestingly, despite the high rate of divorce, the rate of couples living separately from each other is one of the lowest in the country for Muslims. The Census defines a ‘separated’ person as one who is married but doesn’t live with their spouse for reasons other than illness, work or school, and who has not obtained a divorce.

The rate of women who are separated in India stands at 8.09 for every 1,000 married women. For Muslims, it is 7.64. The highest is for Buddhists (14.46), followed by Christians (14.18), ‘Others’ (13.36), and Hindus (8).

Indians of different religious denominations and faiths are governed by their own sets of personal laws in respect of marriage, divorce, succession, etc. Divorce cases are settled under the Divorce Act, 1869 (4 of 1869); the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 (3 of 1936); the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 (8 of 1939); the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (43 of 1954); and the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

For Muslims, divorces also take place under Sharia rules. While the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence prescribe different ways of dissolution of marriage, the most contentious has been the unilateral oral talaq, against which various groups, including a section of Muslim activists, have been protesting.

A survey, conducted by the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, of 4,710 Muslim women from the economically weak strata of the community, found 525 women — 11.14% — were divorced. Of these women, as many as 408 — 78% — had been given unilateral divorce by their husbands.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, on the other hand, points out that the divorce rate is lower for Muslims than for other communities. The Board, which analysed numbers from family courts and Darul Qazas from 8 districts in Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh found that the number of cases for Muslims was 1,307 as against 16,505 for Hindus.

The absence of concrete numbers of victims of unilateral triple talaq notwithstanding, community watchers say it is time to ensure broad justice for all sections of Muslims. “While empirical evidence does play a role in formulating policies, there is a definite need for course correction when you realise that a large chunk of your own people are suffering because of the rigidity of a few,” Dr Abdul Shaban, deputy director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and member of the Telangana government’s commission of inquiry into the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims, said.

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    May 8, 2017 at 7:27 pm
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    Reply
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      Vinayak Upadhyaya
      May 7, 2017 at 7:43 pm
      How many muslim women have registered their talaq to government authorities and their is a habit of muslim men to go remarry with young women even is more than 60 years old.
      Reply
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        deendayal lulla
        May 7, 2017 at 7:08 pm
        Children should not be used by the warring couples to settle scores with one another. Children of the estranged/divorced couples should enjoy the love,affection and access of the noncustodial parents.
        Reply
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          Ramesh
          May 7, 2017 at 2:43 pm
          the recorded divorce rate for Muslims is not the highest among all communities in India. The argument has no merit. The question is not the divorce but the manner of divorce. In other communities divorce is a drawn out legal procedure not a ten second " talak-talak-talak."
          Reply
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            Rasik
            May 7, 2017 at 11:13 am
            Why you are fidgeting after the husband death what is at hindhu religion saji means wife also die with husband ..please finish your pro lens with your religion after you people can correct muslims...is any of your gold told you to kill innocent people...?
            Reply
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              A
              May 7, 2017 at 12:15 am
              Misleading terminology.......ufffff Islamic Talaq is triple talaq , most of the times The issue is about triple talaq in one sitting is questanable
              Reply
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                Vikrant
                May 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm
                Defenders of jihadis wont talk about woman rights. Education makes no difference to their mindset. Anyone visiting masjids, sporting beards like arabs wearing skull caps is a give away to their jihadi mindset. Those who dont support these external give aways their silence or attempts to defend these medieval barbaric islamic laws opens the window towards their jihadi mindset
                Reply
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                  Rasik
                  May 7, 2017 at 11:20 am
                  Mr vikranth you are on wrong mindset..study islam...world educated western people are converting to Islam. I feel from your writing you are educated not like normal rss health.. kil innocent people raping woman on riots..continously make hate speech and writing against muslim ..
                  Reply
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                  dr md
                  May 5, 2017 at 9:08 pm
                  Tripple Talaque invented by mullahs of subcontinent has no relation with Islam. Talaque is rather a stage wise slow procedue in Islam, where women get advantage over men
                  Reply
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