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After Triple Talaq law — ‘The harassment has not stopped but has just changed’

Kausar Ansari, in-charge of Rehnuma, Awaaz-e-Niswaan, a group working since 2003 for women facing harassment as well as for their literacy and livelihood, speaks to The Indian Express on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.

Written by Sadaf Modak |
Updated: December 30, 2019 3:07:58 am
After Triple Talaq law — ‘The harassment has not stopped but has just changed’ Kausar Ansari

Have you come across instances of triple talaq since the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 came into effect?

Yes. We inform women that triple talaq is invalid as per law and, therefore, the divorce has not taken place.

They can continue seeking their rights under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, by approaching a protection officer and by an order from the magistrate to remain in their homes and even seek interim maintenance.

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Some women feel that once the talaq is pronounced, the divorce is valid due to societal burden and religious belief. We try to counsel them and explain the law. We also counsel both men and women, and there have been cases both of repatriation and legal separation post the pronouncement.

Are there issues which the Act could have addressed but fell short and does that have an impact on Muslim women’s access to justice?

When the Act was being drafted, many women’s groups had spoken about the need to ensure livelihood to women facing such instances, or education to their children or hostels to stay at. None of this has happened. It continues to hamper their agency in seeking their rights when confronting their husbands or when they have to leave homes when fighting for justice. The Act does not address it at all and women continue to struggle.

There were apprehensions against criminalisation of men under the Act.

Those concerns remain. The Act does not say how the women who are financially dependent on their husbands go on with their lives if there is an arrest.

What are the other impacts of the Act?

We have seen in many cases that the harassment has not stopped but has just changed. Men who want to harass women through triple talaq now force them to seek divorce.

Our approach is to ensure that if both parties want divorce, it is through mutual consent so that there is no harassment and injustice to the women.

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