<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the Supreme Court coming down hard on the odious practice of triple talaq in the country, it seems that there hasn’t been much of a dent to the trend of men divorcing their wives by uttering ‘talaq’ three times. This social custom has some currency in certain pockets of the Muslim population in India, and is strongly present in sections that are strict adherents to the Hanafi Islamic school. It is no use blaming those who are following this oppressive norm. The real culprit, in this case, is a handful of fanatical maulvis who have been obstinately holding on to their myopic views and preaching it fervently to their flock. Sadly, the message they have been enunciating is of the Supreme Court (SC) interfering in their personal laws and robbing them of their way of life. Nothing can be farther from the truth. By banning triple talaq, the apex court has taken a momentous step forward in ensuring basic human dignity for Muslim women. Interestingly, this is not the first time the SC has stood up to secure the dignity of Muslim women in India. Way back in 1985, the court, via the Shah Bano judgement, set a new precedent not just on the duties of a Muslim husband to his wife, but also on the primacy of the uniform civil code over personal laws. In the Shah Bano case, an elderly Muslim man had appealed against an order of a lower court directing him to pay a paltry monthly maintenance of Rs 179.20 per month to his wife, Shah Bano. Taking the aegis of Muslim personal laws, the husband argued before the SC that he had fulfilled his duty as mandated under Islamic tenets by paying the wife maintenance for a period of three months.Naturally, the apex court saw red and held that Shah Bano was entitled to maintenance as long as she remained unmarried and was unable to maintain herself. What followed after the judgement can be counted as a major milestone in the long-winded journey of Congress’s hypocritical secularism. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did a flip-flop and passed a law with the rock-bottom ambition of pacifying the toxic strain of Islamic conservatism at the cost of basic human rights of divorced women. The Muslim Women (Protection on Divorce Act), 1986 overturned the Shah Bano judgment and Congress scored a political brownie point. Meanwhile, the condition of life of the Muslim women continued to worsen further. Unlike the earlier government, the present regime values all-round development on the twin promises of progress and prosperity over appeasing vote banks for electoral gains. After the triple talaq judgement, the Central government has stepped up to the task and a bill outlawing the custom is likely to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament. Once the bill is adopted, the next challenge for the government will be to ensure effective implementation of the law. At this stage, sociological trends must be scanned thoroughly to zero in on areas where this practice is most prevalent. Slowly and steadily, the law will work as a deterrent, effectively liberating Muslim women from the yoke of societal harassment.
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