Yes, we are taking a stand against instant triple talaq

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has always been advising against triple talaq and we are simply reiterating it loudly now, member Kamal Faruqui tells <i>National Herald</i>

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Ashlin Mathew

All India Muslim Personal Law Board has agreed to sort of let go the instant triple talaq. On the last day of the hearing of the much-debated triple talaq by the Supreme Court (SC), AIMPLB counsel Kapil Sibal had submitted that prospective brides have the option to include a clause against instant triple talaq in the marriage contract. If the Muslim Personal Board had reiterated this stand much earlier, this case would have not have attracted such vilification. In an interview with National Herald, AIMPLB member Kamal Faruqui explains the Board’s stand. Edited excerpts.

SC had asked if women have the right to insist on a clause against triple talaq in the nikahnama?

SC has asked us for a direction advisory saying that a girl can insist on a clause against instant triple talaq in the nikahnama, which is essentially a marriage contract. At the same time, there is an advisory which we are issuing—a copy of which will be filed in the Supreme Court. All the Imams and Qazis will be advised to inform prospective brides and grooms that they are not supposed to pronounce instant divorce. There has to be a mediation.

Many families prefer not to talk about talaq during marriage as they consider it to be inauspicious. This a curse for a man and woman and should be avoided.

Has your stand changed on instant triple talaq?

We are not changing our stand; we are only reiterating our stand. Now we are simply saying loudly that the practice is bad. Refrain from it. Men should avoid it.

What many don’t realise is that in some extreme cases, instant triple talaq is a blessing in disguise. It is not available in any other marriage.

Why did AIMPLB take so long to accept change? Until this petition came up, why wasn’t the advisory released?

How can I ever say that I want to change what is in the Sharia? Single divorce is the most disliked action even if it is allowed by law. Among human beings, differences of opinions are always likely to come up but we have to try to resolve it. Even if someone gives a single talaq and doesn’t ask his wife to come back to him even after three months, they are considered to have been divorced.

We are reiterating our stand on triple talaq now because there wasn’t a need earlier.

Doesn’t the addition of the clause go against the Hanafi, Shahi and Malki sects, which follow the practice of instant triple divorce?

We are not banning it. It is a provision under the Shariah. We had been advising earlier also, now we simply reiterating it in a much louder manner. We are not doing it under pressure. During our last advisory committee meeting in April, we had issued an advisory to the entire community that if anyone were to pronounce instant triple talaq without any reason, there should be a social boycott. It should be announced during the prayers, social congregations and before the marriage that the instant triple talaq is the worst form of divorce.

This is a matter of faith and no Muslim can ever think of violating it because it is a part of my religion. What ever the Muslims are following, there could be differences of opinion depending on the interpretation by the Imams.

We have already stated that the Supreme Court should not open the door of interfering in religious affairs.

This points to the fact that you are taking a stand against instant triple divorce?

Yes, we are. We don’t want the people to do that (instant triple talaq), but we don’t want to close the window (either).

What is the genesis of this case?

While delivering the judgement on the judgment of the Karnataka High Court in the case Prakash versus Phulavati of 2010, the Bench comprising Justice Anil R Dave and Justice AK Goel took suo motu notice of the issue regarding the rights of Muslim women and urged the then Chief Justice HL Dattu to set up a Special Bench to consider gender discrimination suffered by Muslim women owing to “arbitrary divorce and second marriage of their husbands during the currency of their first marriage.”

After a few months, Shayara Banu filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against instant triple talaq. Let me repeat the case. She was married and she wanted to live with her parents, not her marital home. This had led to altercations between the couple. This is a normal case. Though she alleges that she was tortured for years, made to undergo 10 abortions and there were repeated demands for dowry, she had never approached the police. In all these cases, if she would have filed a complaint, her husband’s family would have been arrested immediately and jailed. She didn’t choose any of these options; rather she chose to join the suo moto petition in the Supreme Court.

What happens to those who have got divorced through triple talaq earlier? Is it not a fault of the AIMPLB?

It will be for the court to decide if it will be with retrospective effect or prospectively enforceable.

In spite of what the media says, instances of divorces are least among Muslims and cases of instant triple talaq are very rare.

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Published: 20 May 2017, 9:01 PM