Triple talaq bill has exposed those who consider themselves ‘liberals’: Jaitley
Former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the triple talaq bill, which has been passed in both Houses of the Parliament, has exposed all those who consider themselves “liberals.”
“This Bill has exposed all those who consider themselves ‘liberals’. A ‘liberal’ should ordinarily be hostile to the idea of discrimination and injustice perpetuated by an oral divorce. In this case, not one spoke in favour of the Bill which is ending the injustice. They raised weak arguments so that the fundamentalists amongst the Muslims are kept happy,” Jaitley wrote in a blog titled, “‘Talaq’ without a Social Security”.
“Let us assume the reverse of the present situation. What if such a provision existed in Hindu law? Liberals, leftists, women organisations and perhaps even the judiciary would have been shocked with such a provision and would have attempted either for a repeal of the law or it being declared unconstitutional. These people stand exposed because what they have attempted to raise farcical objections. They wanted to continue and defend an obsolete practice which promotes injustice,” he added.
Jaitley went on to write that those with “short-sighted” vision have repeatedly argued that since the Supreme Court has declared the practice as unlawful, why punish a husband who is indulging in an unlawful act.
“The ‘triple talaq’ right used by him is unlawful and does not exist, then why send him to jail?”
“The Supreme Court, by striking down the practice of ‘triple talaq’, has merely made a declaration of the law. This declaration has to be followed by legislation which punishes the offending spouse for indulging in this cruel act despite it being declared unlawful. Many conservatives would still practice this irrespective of what the court has said. There is data available post the judgement which establishes that this is actually happening on the ground,” Jaitley wrote.
“Besides being tried for the offence in a court, obviously the husband will have to pay maintenance to his wife. Both these will have a strong deterrent effect for those who want to use the weapon of ‘triple talaq’. They will think hundred times before using it due to the onerous consequences of their illegality.”
Jaitley said he has no doubt that once an example is made out of some people, “the fear of its consequences will lead to minimising this practice.”
“If this law was not enacted, the judgement of the Supreme Court will turn into a futile academic exercise where the practice is illegal, if you still indulge in it, no penal consequence visits you,” he said.
Criticising the Congress party, he wrote, “The Congress Party has ruled this country for a long time. During this period it has amended several personal laws to make them acceptable to the changing social mind-set. But when it comes to the Shariat, it is scared. It’s stand in both the Shah Bano case and now in the legislation emanating from the Shayara Bano case, it has given a clear evidence of its intent.”
He added, “It does not mind Muslim women being driven to destitution. After all, the fundamentalist vote bank is at a higher priority than justice being conferred to the female gender.”
Jaitley said that there is “no social security for women in India”.
“Those who champion the case of liberalising the marriage and divorce laws must realise two basic facts. India is a developing society. Even though weaker sections are being provided certain facilities by the Government, the concept of social security does not exist in India. The second important fact is that in a divorce proceeding, no person can take advantage of his own wrong,” he wrote.
He went on to explain, “Christianity traditionally did not accept the idea of an easy divorce. The conservatives were opposed to the idea of divorce. However, with the economic evolution of developed countries along with the creation of a social security net, the laws in the developed world started liberalising.”
Jaitley said that in many societies, divorce is accompanied with the sharing of assets.
“We, in India, are still in a stage where sharing of assets is extremely rare, maintenance levels are extremely low and post a divorce, unless she is working or employed, the wife is driven to either dependency or destitution. On basic principles of humanity, justice and fairplay, would it be right, irrespective of religion, to give to the husband a unilateral right to end the marriage? The fear of the husband uttering three words will always keep the wife subjugated and bear the injustice,” he wrote.
“The basic principle of matrimonial law is that no person can take advantage of his own wrong. The Shariat law was an exception. The husband may have wronged the wife and still despite his own matrimonial misconduct divorce her by uttering three words to dissolve the marriage. This is against all cannons of humanity, justice and fairplay. If this practice is adopted by others, many women would be driven to destitution,” he added.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Bill, 2019 criminalises instant triple talaq among Muslims and attracts a jail term of three years for the husband.
The Bill was passed with 99 members in its favour while 84 members voted against it in the final division. In the division on referring the Bill to the Select Committee, the government got 100 votes while 84 voted against. (ANI)