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The Politics behind Criminalising Triple Talaq

The government is intending to override a well-established norm that laws for minority communities must be enacted after holding discussions with community leaders/representatives, legal experts, and other stakeholders, and after striving to reach a consensus, by tabling the bill to criminalise triple talaq. Behind this hasty move is the formulation that the Muslim woman must invariably be projected as devoid of rights and lacking agency, and the Muslim male as premodern, lustful, polygamous, and barbaric.

The bill to criminalise triple talaq was tabled in Parliament on 28 Decemeber 2017 and it was clear that the government had moved in great haste to formulate it. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants the bill to be passed in the Rajya Sabha so as to claim the credit for ensuring Muslim women their rights, the opposition parties have protested the penal provision in it, arguing that triple talaq is a civil matter and should not be turned into a criminal offence. 

There is no doubt that Parliament has the legislative competency to enact a law regulating marriages and divorces of minority communities. The Narendra Modi government, which has an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha, also has the required numbers to pass the legislation. However, the ethical issue involved here is whether this Parliament—which has the least representation of Muslims—has the moral authority to enact a law without a public debate and without arriving at a consensus from the representatives of the community. The government is intending to override a well-established norm that laws for minority communities must be enacted after holding discussions with community leaders/representatives, legal experts, and other stakeholders, and after striving to reach a consensus.

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Updated On : 8th Jan, 2018

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