'They are lobbying to stall triple talaq bill': Former minister Arif Mohammad Khan slams Muslim law board

On Tuesday, former Union minister Arif Mohammad Khan penned an op-ed in The Times of India entitled Women get a raw deal again: Muslim Personal Law Board is still stuck in Shah Bano timewarp as its opposition to triple talaq bill proves.

File image of Arif Mohammad Khan. YouTube

File image of Arif Mohammad Khan. Image courtesy: YouTube

Khan, who at 30 was the youngest Cabinet minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government, was against the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, which was brought in to overrule the Shah Bano verdict and resigned because of differences with Rajiv.

In the op-ed, Khan said that the way Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 received the approval of Lok Sabha encouraged him to believe in the maturity of the political class and their capability to learn from past experiences, particularly bad ones.

"I entertained the hope that now political expediency shall not be allowed to come in the way of gender justice. But within days the personal law board was able to flex its muscles and succeeded in rallying enough support to ensure that the new bill does not become a law too soon," he wrote.

He said the main objection raised was that marital affairs were of a civil nature and the Bill sought to criminalise them, but nothing could be further from the truth and a casual look at the history of Muslim law would show that triple talaq was always considered a criminal act. "Caliph Umar in whose time this practice acquired legal validity used to award a punishment of 400 lashes to a man who would resort to irrevocable or triple divorce," Khan added.

Khan further stated that the second criticism of who would pay for the wife's maintenance if the man was sent to jail was surprising considering it was being raised by those who were party to the 1986 Bill which was brought to soothe the personal law board which was inflamed by the SC judgment in the Shah Bano case.

"In May 2017, the personal law board had both orally and through an affidavit promised the Supreme Court they would organise a campaign against triple divorce since it is an innovation, a sin and is highly unjust to women," Khan wrote.

"Instead of doing what they had promised, they are now lobbying political support to ensure that those who according to them commit the ‘sin’ of ‘injustice’ by resorting to the ‘innovative’ triple divorce are not made accountable and the board may be given credit for having stalled the bill from becoming a law at least temporarily with the support of political parties who had stood by them in 1986," he concluded.

Updated Date: Jan 09, 2018 15:13 PM

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