Divorcing The Past

Why abolishing triple talaq is critical to creating a New India

Written by Bhupender Yadav , Vikramjit Banerjee | Published:June 3, 2017 1:37 am
triple talaq, Supreme court verdict on triple talaq, India on triple talaq, Islam triple talaq A socially just society cannot be created unless women’s rights are protected and promoted. (Representational Image)

The ongoing litigation before the Supreme Court between those fighting for the protection of an ossified personal law, triple talaq, and those who want to go beyond discriminatory customs is at the heart of the struggle for a “New India”. The choices before us, as citizens who want a progressive, liberal, democratic India, are very clear and it is time that we come down decisively for a more equitable and egalitarian republic.

A few things need to be understood before we address the question of personal law and women’s rights. First, the dispute is not about any specific religion or community, it is about women from all communities. Second, the dispute is not a question of religion, as some people are trying to make it out, but it is a question that relates to the kind of society we want to see in India.

To create a nation is not an easy task, especially in a country like ours that is composed of thousands of communities. However, when all of us decided to progress on a journey to create a nation, we also agreed to create a country that would accord equal treatment to all its citizens. We realised that without “justice, liberty, equality and fraternity,” our journey was going to be hurdled by the grievances of the past.

These ideals were the moving spirit of our independence movement. They are also explicit and implicit in our Constitution. A socially just society cannot be created unless women’s rights are protected and promoted. A country where half its citizens are not as empowered as the other half is a society that is handicapped in several ways.

The state’s duty is to remove the fetters which bind the disadvantaged; in our society, the most disempowered in every community are women. In our country, women are encumbered in several ways. The most important points of discrimination against women are in our families. It is in families that discrimination between boys and girls is hammered into the social system. It is, therefore, important that any changes with the purpose of creating a more equal society should root themselves in correcting this imbalance within the family. The promotion of women’s rights and the protection of women’s interests within family law is therefore crucial in this nation-building project. Personal law reform is just the first of numerous steps we need to take to create a truly just society.

We have seen how, globally, women’s interests have been protected through legislation and through interventions in personal laws. Whether it is Turkey or Iran, the protection of women’s rights has been the cornerstone of revolutionary changes in old societies. In many ways, creating an equal family, or, at the very least, an equitable family is the key to creating an equitable society.

It can be nobody’s case that women are any less capable than men. History has answered that question. Women are today working shoulder-to-shoulder with men in every field. The reality of today is fundamentally different compared to that of the past. When B.R. Ambedkar decided to push for the rights of women within the family in Hindu personal law, he received such great resistance that he had to resign from the Union cabinet.

However, today, history has proved him to be correct. The fundamental choice before the Supreme Court, and all those who are participating in the great debate before it, is to decide where they position themselves at the time when the bells toll. History will hold them to that choice, however much they may choose to nuance their arguments now or in the future. Whatever may be their views, they should realise that with respect to triple talaq — which everybody agrees is discriminatory to women — the question is not about granting extra rights or privileges to women.

History has already answered that question; in any case, it is not for us to “give” but to recognise the discrimination against women. The issue is about recognising that an equal and just society should be the basis of the “New India”.

Yadav is MP and National General Secretary, BJP, and Banerjee is senior advocate, Supreme Court

For all the latest Opinion News, download Indian Express App

  1. S
    Sivakumar
    Jun 5, 2017 at 5:34 pm
    @ PK Mullah Aamir - I really like the way you giving a retorting reply to all hate mongers who have pre-mediated thought about India and Hindus and nation as a w , you have good knowledge about hate mongers religious belief, continue your good work, these are shameless people and cont differentiate between the truth and duplicity, or they are egoist and don't want to agree and live with the truth, ba xxs of highest orders, their only aim is barbathi of India and the Indian culture.
    Reply
    1. P
      PK Mullah Amir
      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:27 am
      In secular America, all Muslims have to follow the same law that is followed by others for divorce. There are no special laws for all except Muslim men in America to slave their wives. Like marriage, divorce in the United States is under the jurisdiction of state governments, not the federal government. Divorce or "dissolution of marriage" is a legal process in which a judge or other authority dissolves the bonds of matrimony existing between two persons, thus restoring them to the status of being single and permitting them to marry other individuals. The legal process for divorce may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt, though these matters are usually only ancillary or consequential to the dissolution of the marriage. In all but one state, and even in that state in most cases, a divorce must be certified by a court of law to become effective. The terms of the divorce are usually determined by the court,
      Reply
      1. P
        PK Mullah Amir
        Jun 4, 2017 at 4:23 am
        If you want to apply for divorce in secular Australia all Australians including Australian Muslims have to follow the same law. Muslim men in secular Australia don't get special rights to slave their wives. To apply for a divorce in Australia, you need to have been separated for 12 months and a day. You must prove that the irretrievable breakdown of your relationship, meaning there is no chance of you getting back together. If you have been married for less than 2 years, you need to consider reconciliation with the help of a councilor before applying for divorce. If you don’t have children under 18 and can mutually agree on divorce terms, you do not need to attend a court hearing. If children are involved however, the court will decide on their care and living arrangements.
        Reply
        1. P
          PK Mullah Amir
          Jun 4, 2017 at 4:20 am
          No wonder no country wants Muslims in their country. Terrorists in Muslim countries are Muslims. Terrorists in secular countries are Muslims. And yet the religion of peace produces all terrorists. And peace be upon you. Muslims say pray the creator and not the creations and yet they create terrorists to get 72 sheeps for their pleasure.
          Reply
          1. P
            PK Mullah Amir
            Jun 4, 2017 at 4:18 am
            Does all secular countries Australia America Netherlands France except India have multiple laws one for all and one for Muslims? Did Muslim countries also ban triple talaq? Aren't they in contempt of Koran if they banned triple talaq. Why didn't all secular countries except India allow slavery of Muslim women by Muslim mullah in the name of Allah? Why are not they allowing the Muslim men to refine themselves and leave them to their faith? How come Muslim mullah are justifying their slavery of their wives in this DNAge?
            Reply
            1. J
              Jay Smith
              Jun 4, 2017 at 3:23 am
              one country one law
              Reply
              1. P
                PK Mullah Amir
                Jun 4, 2017 at 2:56 am
                The solution is simple. Follow a secular common law. If not women gets equal rights of triple talaq just like jihadi mullah does. Close the chapter. Let mullahs feel the heat. Enough of Muslim women suffered. Time to Implement equality in Islam.
                Reply
                1. S
                  sahil
                  Jun 4, 2017 at 1:27 am
                  Triple talaq is definitely necessary for jhandelwalan creating a rift in Muslim vote. Funny the greatest enemy of Muslims suddenly turning into messiahs for a stunt
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Amar Akbar
                    Jun 4, 2017 at 2:43 am
                    So Muslims are not Sunni kiIIING Shia Ahmediya Aga Khani Bohri and Shia kil Sunni but one vote?
                    Reply
                  2. Load More Comments