Men were divorcing their wives through WhatsApp

A bill was passed by India’s parliament, which makes the Islamic instant divorce “triple talaq” illegal in the country. The move was put int place by the Indian government to empower women. However, many members of the Muslim community in India are unhappy with the new law and are criticizing it.

According to Justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the bill was implemented as each month saw hundreds of reports of the practice taking place. Two years ago, the Supreme Court said that the practice violates the constitutional rights of Muslim women in India.

Muslim Personal Law or Shariat states that a man can divorce his wife instantly by saying the Arabic word for divorce, talaq, thrice. There have been many cases reported where men have divorced their wives in this way through WhatsApp instant messages.

The current ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made many efforts to pass a bill to make triple talaq a criminal offense over the last year. The reason it took so long to be made law is that the upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, were strongly opposed to it.

However, things have taken a turn as the government had passed the bill Tuesday by a vote of 99 to 84. When asked about the bill, Prasad has said that India’s parliament has given Muslim women justice.

Mainstream Muslim groups in India have condemned triple talaq and called it inherently patriarchal. Triple talaq may only be availed by men. Women, on the other hand, must get permission from their husbands if they would like to pursue a divorce. The law is not known in the Quran.

Board member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Kamal Faruqui, has said that he believes the Indian “constitution is in danger.” Faruqui refers to the secularity of India which is upheld by the constitution of India as many believe this law was made to make a political point.

A leader of the main opposition Congress party, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has said that the law is discriminatory as there isn’t any other religion in the country which is threatened with time in jail over having irregular divorce proceedings.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken to Twitter to thank the MPs and parties who supported the bill in both Houses of Parliament.


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