[Answered] “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 is a much needed step for women empowerment.” Discuss.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Import features of the bill. Why bill is important for women?
Conclusion. Conclusion.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 makes declaration of talaq, including the written or electronic form, to be void and illegal.  Talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man results in instant and irrevocable divorce.  Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where utterance of the word ‘talaq’ thrice by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

Some Important provisions of the bill:

  1. The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence.
  2. The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused. The bail may be granted only after hearing the victim woman and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  3. Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.  The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
  4. Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

A much needed step for women empowerment:

  1. The proposed Bill will protect the rights of women to live a life of dignity. Instant triple talaq is violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
  2. It provides the rights of subsistence allowance, ensuring women’s economic rights
  3. It will put an end to the suffering of Muslim women who have been at the receiving end of instant talaq for several years therefore leading to justice for Muslim women.
  4. It will end gender discrimination faced by women in case of divorce, where only men was empowered to give instant talaq, thereby leading to gender equality.
  5. It is a step towards uniform civil code as mentioned in Article 44 (directive principles) of the constitution and will ensure secularism.
  6. The penal measure acts as a “necessary deterrent” and will strengthen women’s confidence to raise their voice against other discriminatory practices. Muslim women will not fear of talaq while raising voice.
  7. It will help in making civil society more sensitive towards women while recognising the rights of women.
  8. Muslim Women will be empowered to access the opportunities available to them without fear and restriction of talaq.
  9. It will allow Muslim women to participate in decision making related to her children and her life which was earlier curbed through fear of talaq.

Some issues in the bill:

  1. No economic and socio-legal support is provided by the government in the Bill to women, children and other dependents, when the men are put behind bars.
  2. The pronouncement of triple talaq having no legal consequences on the marriage means that such a proclamation by a Muslim man is essentially a desertion of the wife.
  3.  Subsistence allowance is not defined and is open to interpretation.
  4. The Bill allows for the aggrieved woman as well as anyone related to her by blood or marriage to be the complainant. There is no provision for a relative to seek the consent of an aggrieved woman before filing a complain.
  5. The terms of imprisonment up to three years is arbitrary and excessive.

Women empowerment provide power to women over their own lives contributing to the society, and in their communities freely. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 ensure this by removing fears, restrictions and empowering women by giving them their rights. But bill should be more clear wrt some provisions to prevent legal loopholes.

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