New Delhi, August 19, 2019
India’s Home Minister Amit Shah has defended the abolition of ‘Triple Talaq,’ saying that it was a part of his ‘Government’s Journey of Development.’
Stating that the practice was ‘Un-Islamic,’ he said that the Act, which abolished ‘Triple Talaq’ was ‘correction of a historic wrong.’
Speaking at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi on Sunday, August 18, 2019, Mr Shah said that he has been an advocate of abolition of the practice since long and described the passage of the Act in Parliament as ‘proud moment.’
Blaming the policy of appeasement for the Opposition to the removal of ‘Triple Talaq,’ he said that while removal of social evils is generally welcomed by society, it was appeasement that led to some opposition to the move.
Social unity and holistic development are hampered because of appeasement, he said.
“Development of a society takes hard work and rigorous planning, and requires dedication, commitment and empathy. Appeasement is a shortcut that never leads to development. Those left behind in the journey of development must be empowered,” Mr Shah said.
He said that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows the policy of ‘Holistic, all-encompassing, last-mile development.’
About the Legislation
India’s Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) passed the Triple Talaq Bill, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019 Bill on July 30, 2019.
The Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) had passed the Bill on December 28, 2017.
According to the Government, the Bill is a step towards gender equality and justice. It criminalises instant divorce by Muslim men and seeks jail term of three years for the guilty.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey are among the Islamic countries that have already banned the practice.
India’s neighbour Sri Lanka has also made ‘Triple Talaq’ an offence.
“Several Islamic nations have abolished this practice proving that such a barbaric practice is not part of Islamic culture,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the Bill faced difficulty in Rajya Sabha which had blocked its passage several times.
“A five-judge Constitution Bench had pronounced with a majority of 3-2 that the practice of Triple Talaq violates Article 14 of the Constitution, Equality before the law and equal protection of the law. Thus, Supreme Court itself has declared the practice of Triple Talaq to be illegal, unconstitutional, arbitrary and void,” he said.
Mr Shah said that a society must progress with time, otherwise it becomes stale and that abolition of ‘Triple Talaq’ would ensure dignity and equality for millions of Muslim women.
Correcting Social Evils
Commenting on imprisonment for the violation of the Act, he said, “Correction of many social evils requires application of criminal laws – from Sati Pratha and child marriages to polygamy and dowry. The law stipulates three years of imprisonment for violators, and bail is possible only after the aggrieved woman has had a chance to present her side to the court. Thus, this law empowers Muslim women in the truest sense of the word,” he said.
92.1% Muslim women in India wanted ‘Triple Talaq’ abolished.
He said that he was proud of having voted against ending the social evil of Triple Talaq.
“Nepotism, casteism and appeasement have collectively damaged the Nation’s polity. The Modi government has taken steps to remove these,” Mr Shah said.
Great social reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy, Jyotiba Phule, Kavi Narmad, Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Savarkar and Dr B R Ambedkar have all contributed to uplifting the Indian society and removing social evils, he said.