Even as the uniform civil code (UCC) is hanging fire, the All-India Muslim Women Personal law Board (AIMWPLB) has sought punishment to Muslim men who “arbitrarily” divorce women vide irrevocable triple talaq.
AIMWPLB president Shaista Amber has been quoted to have said her organisation is planning to move the Supreme Court of India seeking punishment to such Muslim men so that it could act as a deterrent. Her reasoning, as reported, is that Quran mandates that there must be time given for reconciliation.
The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the AIMWPLB have no statutory standing.
However, this debate may take the issue towards the threshold of the UCC.
The Supreme Court has already taken suo motu cognisance of the issue to examine whether Muslim women face gender discrimination due to this Muslim personal law.
Already, a top-level government meeting had taken place on the issue comprising ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Maneka Gandhi and Manohar Parrikar.
According to reports, this meeting wanted to oppose the triple talaq system. And accordingly, the law ministry is said to be looking into the practices worldwide and also considering the practice in several Islamic countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq etc. where the system is either banned or restricted.
The Indian apex court is already flooded with various subsequent petitions by the AIMPLB, Jamiat-e-Ulema which defend the practice and a petition by one Shayara Bano said to be a “talaq” victim who has challenged the practice.
The Shah Bano case in the mid-80s shook the country’s Muslim community resulting in the resignation of the then union minister Arif Mohammad Khan who opposed the amendment in the law as discriminatory against the Muslim women. Now whether the Shayara Bano case would result in the same is a question to be watched for answers.
Now Shaista says that the triple talaq is a sword hanging over the heads of Muslim women in India but hastens to add that this does not mean that she or her organization favors uniform civil code. Her argument is when there is sharia law for Muslim women they don’t need a uniform civil code but sharia law should be implemented properly as for example nikah halala where a divorced woman by the triple talaq has to marry another man and consummate her marriage.