Triple Talaq Bill is scary. It will deter Muslim men like me from marrying

The new act is an additional weapon in the hands of disgruntled wives.

 |  3-minute read |   30-12-2017
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As an educated Muslim male contemplating marriage, the triple talaq bill is scary to say the least. This is not to say that I am an advocate of instant triple talaq or talaq-ul-biddat. Coming from an educated family, which has not seen even a single instance of divorce in three generations, I was not even going to pronounce triple talaq on my would-be wife. However, I may not marry now.

As an advocate, who has fought a few matrimonial cases, I realise the new act is an additional weapon in the hands of disgruntled wives. No married person can ever deny that married couples fight. The fights can sometimes turn ugly and this bill if turned into a law will give a very deadly weapon in the hands of the wives.

The Supreme Court has in the case of Arnesh Kumar observed that the provisions of 498A, which deals with harassment of married women, were being misused and therefore provided certain guidelines to protect the aggrieved husband and in-laws. The present legislation therefore without giving any protection to husband is a one-way street for harassment.

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I recognise that the threat of misuse of law does not make a law unconstitutional. However, a law which is only made to put Muslim men in jail can hardly be called fair. Pronouncement of triple talaq is mostly oral. To prove that the husband has pronounced triple talaq under the Evidence Act would put the husband's word against that of his wife and as the law stands today, the wife's words would be treated as gospel truth. The wife will not even be required to prove any cruelty, mental or physical yet the husband will find himself in jail and given the pendency rate of our judicial system the husband will probably spend three years as an undertrial.

I do not claim to be a very learned or experienced advocate but I cannot imagine how a man will be able to prove that he has not pronounced instant triple talaq on his wife.

The triple talaq bill is so poorly drafted and hurriedly passed by the Lok Sabha that the lawmakers did not even make an attempt to provide any protection to the husband. The lack of definition of "informant" basically means that any tom, dick and harry can lodge a FIR against me and I would be faced with the threat of arrest that too without even a warrant. I am afraid that very soon there will be an anti-talaq squad on the lines of anti-romeo squad outside my house ready to file a FIR against me without even once asking my wife's wish.

The offence being non-bailable, I will be dependent on the mercy of the judges for my personal liberty even though I may have been a polite and wife-loving husband.

The offence of triple talaq will be a non-compoundable offence and even if I resolve the issues with my wife, I will face trial or forced to approach the high court for quashing the case thereby incurring huge legal expenses.

The added burden of "subsistence allowance" will mean that I need to keep a corpus ready for the same, an additional expense exclusively for Muslim men.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his attempt to go down in the annals of history as the next Raja Ram Mohan Roy has caused such distress to familial ties and matrimonial relationships that the only option available with the aggrieved Muslim husband would be to walk out of a marriage and abandon the wife, very much like our Hon'ble PM. The husband can always cite "service to the nation" as the reason behind such desertion.

Also read: Why Krishan Chander's short story 'Kalu Bhangi' is extremely relevant today

Writer

Anas Tanwir Anas Tanwir @vakeel_sb

Author is a Supreme Court lawyer who until yesterday was planning to get married.

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