Congress should rise above its vested political interest

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It is highly unfortunate that even in the face of Supreme Court declaring Triple Talaq unconstitutional, the bill having penal provisions for those practising it could not be passed in the parliament. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, was continuously stalled in Rajya Sabha and finally could not be passed. Contrary to the Congress stand in Lok Sabha where it did not oppose the bill, it went all out to stall it under the pretext of sending it to the select committee. It was a tactic to which the government has rightly refused to succumb and stood its ground exposing the doublespeak of Congress on the issue. The Muslim women fight for justice was further prolonged and their rightful claims were denied by the insistence of Congress in stalling its passage in Rajya Sabha.

The Muslim women in the country had to wage a consistent struggle to get their voice heard and their legitimate claims of equality as per Indian constitution accepted by the Supreme court and the political class of the country. It was a logical conclusion of their fight on Triple Talaq that a law should be made to penalize those continuing this practice even after its being declared unconstitutional. Although the Supreme Court judgement has pronounced it unconstitutionality still there are reports of instances of Triple Talaq on which legal machinery is finding difficult to act in the absence of any legal provision penalizing the act. The question of maintenance and custody of the children are other aspects of the question which needs urgent attention. The bill was aimed at addressing these issues but unfortunately Congress seems to have developed cold feet at the last minute and even after allowing the bill to be passed in Lok Sabha, it insisted on stalling the bill in Rajya Sabha. The Congress leaders have taken a highly ridiculous stand in raising the objection to imprisonment of the Husband pronouncing Triple Talaq under the bill saying that absence of ‘breadwinner’ of the family may bring the women and her children on the street with the family. If this logic is applied than it will be difficult to bring any offender to the book and may give an open licence to such husbands to mistreat his family and exploit women at his whims and fancies. It is the logical outcome of the Supreme Court verdict on Triple Talaq that a strict law is in place to punish the offenders and create a deterrent in the society in the interest of the women. But Congress and its allies failed in their duty to support the bill and empower the Muslim women by backing the legislation.

The nation is passing through a huge transformation and the change is visible when unlike in the days of Shah Bano judgement the Supreme Court verdict on Triple Talaq has been largely welcomed by the Muslim society itself. The politics of appeasing the patriarchal section of the society in the name of religion has given way to gender justice in the light of proper readings of the scriptures. Today due to the reformative steps taken by the NDA government women are able to go for Haz pilgrimage without ‘Mahram’. It is a huge shift and a welcome change. In our country there is a need to take bold initiatives on the issue of social change across community and religious lines and creat a more just and equitable society as envisaged by the founding fathers of our constitution. The Congress and its allies should rise above its vested political interest and help pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 at the earliest.