New Delhi: Just a week after the union cabinet cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 to replace an ordinance the Modi government had issued in February, the contentious bill is all set to be introduced in the Lok Sabha Friday.
The bill makes the practice of instant divorce, or triple talaq, among Muslims a criminal offence.
The government had first promulgated an ordinance to this effect in September last year. Under The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Ordinance, 2018, the offence was made non-bailable and punishable with a jail term of up to three years. An amendment was later introduced to make provisions for bail.
Although the opposition still demands the bill to be sent to a Parliamentary select committee for scrutiny, the Modi government believes this law will make it through the Parliament after it tweaked the earlier bill. The new bill now seeks to make triple talaq a bailable offence.
While pushing the bill, Union Minister of Law & Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that there were hundreds of cases of such instant divorces even when the ordinance was in force.
ThePrint tracks down the seven cases in which an FIR was lodged and arrests were made after the ordinance was promulgated.
Uttar Pradesh, 4 October 2018
The first case under the ordinance was registered in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, on 4 October 2018, leading to an FIR against a man named Chandrabhabu, 31, his mother and sister.
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The man, currently living in Saudi Arabia, has been accused of pronouncing instant divorce to his wife over a phone call on 10 September 2018, after the woman did not comply with his alleged dowry demands.
No arrests have been made in the case as the accused is still abroad, said an official from a local police station who didn’t wish to be named.
Maharashtra, 18 October 2018
This case was filed in Maharashtra on 18 October 2018 where a man was booked under the newly promulgated ordinance for divorcing his wife over social media platform WhatsApp.
The accused, Javed Saber Pathan, 26, a resident of Khandala village in the Aurangabad district, was booked under provisions of the triple talaq ordinance.
Pathan married Shabana Shaikh in December 2016. When the relationship started turning sour, the accused left the girl at her aunt’s home. It was allegedly followed by a triple talaq over WhatsApp on 22 September last year.
Pathan was arrested after an investigation, but is now out on bail.
Madhya Pradesh, 25 October 2018
In this case, Arif Hussain, 34, the accused husband, was arrested by the Jhabua district police in Madhya Pradesh after he allegedly uttered triple talaq to divorce his “obese wife”.
According to the complaint filed on 25 October 2018 by his wife Salma Bano, Hussain and his mother would constantly taunt and torture her for being overweight.
Bano and Hussain have two children from a decade-old marriage.
Hussain is currently out on bail.
Maharashtra, 5 December 2018
The Manor police station in Maharashtra’s Vasai registered an FIR on 5 December last year against Intekhab Munshi, 48, after his wife alleged that he pronounced instant divorce on 22 September.
Munshi and his wife were married in December 1998 and have three children.
He secured an anticipatory bail from the Bombay High Court under provisions of the ordiance on a personal bond of Rs 15,000. He claimed that he divorced his wife through the Islamic provision of ‘talaq-e-ahsan’, and had sent her a legal notice.
Unlike talaq-e-biddat (instant talaq), talaq-e-ahsan was upheld by the Supreme Court in its August 2017 judgment.
His wife, however, claimed that she wasn’t served any such notice.
Munshi is currently out on bail.
Maharashtra, 16 May 2019
The Thane police in Mumbai arrested 28-year-old Nadeem Shaikh and his parents on 16 May after he allegedly divorced his wife over phone. The parents were charged with harassment.
The woman alleged that the divorce was given to her in March.
Sheikh was booked under sections of the triple talaq ordinance. The police also booked him and his parents under IPC sections 498-A (cruelty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with an intent to provoke breach of peace).
The family is out on bail, a police official told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.
Uttar Pradesh, 12 June 2019
On the orders of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested a man last week after his wife alleged that he divorced her through triple talaq.
The police arrested Zikru Rehman, 32, a resident of Malpura area in Agra, after his wife Tarannum Begum approached CM Adityanath. According to the complaint, Begum had been married to Rehman for five years and has three kids from him. Begum claimed that she was brutally tortured by her in-laws and husband.
After she took up the matter with the CM, she was contacted by the Chief Minister’s Office regarding the complaint, and upon verification of the facts, the local police were instructed to take action in the matter.
Rehman is currently in police custody while investigation in the case is ongoing.
Gujarat, 16 June 2019
The latest case is from Gujarat’s Valsad district where a man has been booked for uttering triple talaq to his wife over a WhatsApp message.
The couple was married four years ago and has a three-year-old son.
The police has identified the accused as Jailun Javed Kalia, 27.
Kalia, his father Javed, and mother Nafisa have been booked under relevant sections of the ordinance, and section 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the IPC.
The accused are yet to be arrested. Kalia lives abroad and works with a shipping company.
The local police told ThePrint that it would definitely arrest Kalia “when he is in town”.
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