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NDA’s Idea of Gender Justice

It will be a mistake to hastily endorse the government’s move to pass the Triple Talaq Bill.

 

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government looks content with its heroic move of passing the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, in the Lok Sabha. The move might look quite progressive in the eyes of many. However, it will be a mistake to endorse it only on its face value. The government’s refusal to send the bill to a parliamentary select committee, for example, goes against the democratic spirit of deliberation and involvement of all stakeholders in such a legislation. More annoyingly, the union law minister’s analogy that the “government had not consulted with the rapists before passing the ordinance to ensure the death penalty for rape of children under 12 years of age,” is rather bizarre. Moreover, the provision to criminalise the accused in the Triple Talaq Bill is deeply problematic. Since marriage is a civil contract, violation of this contract demands civil action, but the bill makes it a cognisable non-bailable offence.

The government’s argument that it has brought the bill in response to the Supreme Court judgment delivered in 2018, is inadequate. It was only the minority judgment that had exhorted the government to bring a legislation to annul the practice of triple talaq as it was deemed to be a matter pertaining to personal law and religious practices. If the government was driven by the concerns of justice for Muslim women, it could have considered the private member’s bill moved by a Congress member of Parliament (MP), which dealt with the codification of talaq and the evolution of a fair procedure of dissolution of marriage. Despite the demands from women’s groups, particularly those who had intervened in the petition to the Supreme Court for broader consultation, the government has chosen to steamroll this legislation with its singular preoccupation of criminalisation overriding the concerns for justice.

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Updated On : 11th Jan, 2019

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