With only three days to go for the Supreme Court verdict on the legality of triple talaq, a major shift in the lifestyle of the Muslim community in India remains on the tenterhook. The incumbent central government challenged the constitutional validity of triple talaq, whereas the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) defends the practice as part of Islamic culture. The debate is endless and there is enough suspicion that Hindu Nationalist party BJP may be trying to use this as a springboard to implement the Uniform Civil Code.
Uniform Civil Code already exists in some ways. Article 44 of the Constitution, which is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy says, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.” However, due to Article 25, which guarantees the freedom to practice, profess and propagate any religion and its 42nd Amendment in 1976 where India was declared a secular nation; the State and its institutions have not interfered with religious practices, including in relation to various personal laws. But Clause (2) of Article 25 empowers the State to frame any law to regulate or restrict “secular activity which may be associated with religious practice.” It can thus be argued that Article 25 is no different from a Uniform Civil Code.
Coming back to the views of Qur’an, as it happens with most religious scriptures, it is widely accepted that divorce is not encouraged in Qur’an. There are also certain conditions that must be fulfilled for a triple talaq to be valid. However, strangely enough, neither AIMPLB nor the government is talking about this.
So prudent interpretations of Qur’an are equally important to understand the real process of triple talaq and that requires a mechanism that can implement, not just the triple talaq, but also the inspection of the conditions which needs to be honored before talaq.
However, AIMPLB is completely unimpressive and ineffective to present the real points of views pertaining to Qur’an. Even the British, who have executed a number of social, cultural and religious changes in the Hindu society, could not dare to interfere in the religious affairs of the Muslims. It is, therefore, unlikely that AIMPLB would take the risk of probable backlash of the Muslims males. On the other hand, the government strategy might be to divide the Muslim population between the genders. In this way, they can hope to get a sizeable vote count from the Muslim women. If this happens, BJP can half the threats that emanates from the secular parties.
The game plan among the interest groups and political outfits is pervasive. An intelligent man should adhere to the holy Qur’an in judging what is right, rather than looking for his self interest or be swayed by the political maneuvers of the parties involved.