Former National Commission for Women (NCW) member Shamina Shafiq has said the Muslim women would not have gone to the court if the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had acknowledged that there is a problem with ‘triple talaq’ and had tried to find a solution for it.
“No Indian Muslim woman would have ever gone to the court if the Muslim Personal Board had actually sat down and said yes there is a problem and said that they will sit and try to find out a solution,” she told ANI.
Her reactions came after the AIMPLB, a Muslim body governing personal affairs according to Islamic Law Code Shariat, filed an affidavit in the apex court, stating that “personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms.”
She said that the solution to the triple talaq problem is that it should be counted as one talaq but not the final divorce.
“The only thing they (AIMPLB) need to do is, they need to say that if talaq is pronounced at a single time thrice, it should be considered as one talaq and not the final talaq,” she said.
She further said that no Muslim woman is questioning the Sharia law or the Quran but the board must recognise that it is the misinterpretation of the law that is creating problem for women and should thus, reassess the Personal Law.
“No Muslim woman is questioning Sharia. No Muslim woman is questioning any of the things written in the Quran. With all respect to Quran, we love Islam. But the only thing is that misinterpretation of the Sharia law is creating a lot of problem for the Muslim women and its time now that the Personal Law Board should sit down and codify the Personal Law within its own ambit,” said Shafiq.
She added that the board is right in saying that the court cannot intervene in the Personal Law, but at the same time it needs to acknowledge that Muslim women are facing problems.
“What the Personal Law Board is trying to say is absolutely right when they say that the court does not intervene as far as Personal Law is concerned, but, at the same time they do not acknowledge that Indian Muslim women are facing problems,” she said.
She also pointed out that even within the AIMPLB, women are under-represented, which makes the composition of the board unequal.
“The Personal Law Board does not have equality in terms of representation as far as Muslim women are concerned. The board itself has an unequal composition. There are very few women as compared to men within the board,” said the former NCW member.
She further said that it is really unfortunate that the entire affidavit submitted by the AIMPLB talks about whether the court can intervene or not and what are the rights of men under the Muslim Personal Law Board, but, not even once the board has acknowledged that Muslim women have a problem with triple talaq and said that it will look into the matter within the ambit of Personal Law.
The AIMPLB on Friday told the Supreme Court that “personal laws cannot be re-written in the name of social reforms” as the board submitted its response in connection with the ongoing matter on the ‘triple talaq’ issue.
“When serious discords develop in a marriage and husband wants to get rid of wife, legal compulsions and time consuming judicial process….in extreme cases husband may resort to illegal criminal ways of getting rid of her by murdering her. In such situations Triple Talaq is a better recourse,” AIMPLB told the apex court.
The AIMPLB further said that polygamy as a social practice is not for gratifying men’s lust, but it is a social need.
“Muslim women have right to divorce under Khula practice. Issues of Muslim Personal Law are raised in the Supreme Court are for Parliament for decide. The Uniform Civil code is a directive principle and not enforceable. The personal laws are protected by Article 25, 26 and 29 of the Constitution as they are acts done in pursuance of a religion,” it added.
The apex court had last week issued notice to the Central Government on the plea of a Muslim woman challenging the Constitutional validity of ‘triple talaq’ to end a marriage.
The petitioner Noor Jahan has sought a declaration from the apex court, saying that Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, was unconstitutional as it violated fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 21 (life) and 25 (religion) of the Constitution.
In her petition, Jahan has asked whether an arbitrary and unilateral divorce through triple talaq can deprive the wife of her rights in her matrimonial home as also her right to have the custody of her children.
A batch of petitions is being heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and notices have already been issued to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and others.
All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) president Shaista Ambar has demanded abolishing of the triple talaq system.
Talaq-e-bidat is a Muslim man divorcing his wife by pronouncing the word “talaq” more than once in a single tuhr (the period between two menstruations) or in a tuhr after coitus or pronouncing an irrevocable instantaneous divorce at one go (unilateral triple-talaq).
The Centre has set up a high-level committee to review the status of women in India and according to reports has recommended a ban on the practice of oral, unilateral and triple talaq (divorce) and polygamy.