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Triple talaq - is doing away with it really going to empower Muslim women or is maintenance the bigger issue?

Triple talaq refers to Islamic tradition that lets a man divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq thrice. Talaq-e-biddat or triple talaq is one of the three forms of talaq but the only form where the husband is not liable to reason his wife on talaq. Though considered sinful by the Prophet because of being irrevocable in nature, it is still permissible in sunnis under muslim law.

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The recent furore caused was due to of its being discriminatory in nature. Triple talaq being only the prerogative of man violates the basic principle of equality and discrimination only on the basis of sex as enshrined in article 14 and 15 of the constitution respectively. Fairly termed as the iceberg of discriminatory family laws, triple talaq doesn't obligate the husband to answer his wife on the issue of talaq neither convey her of being divorced. The question arises as to why is this form still prevalent when even the Holy Quran considers it as sinful and condemnable. Why are rights of muslim females being hampered only on the trifling and nonbinding laws made by qazis and scholars. Why is such a gross violation of basic right being given a religious colour, she still being treated as a chattel. A naive woman who is left suffered at the hands of her husband ,owing no responsibility towards her, no reasons been given to annul a pious sacrament.

"Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge , Allah will ease his path to paradise", says the holy quran and prophet. Therefore its high time to empower the muslim women by striking down such parochial and meaningless laws. Give them their own rights, give them their say, empower them to have an equal stand as to men to take their own decisions of life, and put a halt to unfettered prerogative of men. It's vociferously demanded that triple talaq be declared unconstitutional and illegal.

As far as maintenance issue is concerned it is a settled law that a husband is liable to make a reasonable and fair provision for the future of divorced wife which includes maintenance. However such a reasonable and fair provision extending beyond the iddat period must be made by the husband within 3(1)(a) of the muslim protection of womens' act which doesn't confine to iddat period. Under sec 4 of the act the woman who is not able to maintain herself can proceed against her relatives, who if unable to pay, makes provision for her to approach the waqf board established under the act to pay such maintenance. Though the court in Daniel latiffi case interpreted the words" sum payable on divorce" as something more than mehr which is given as a token of respect to women and extending beyond iddat period but still the husband is liable to make only reasonable and fair provisions. He is not absolutely liable to maintain her but she is left at the mercy of relatives to approach them door to door and then to the court for being maintained by the waqf board. Thus the position seems still to be deplorable in this case.

However a comparison between the issue of triple talaq and maintenance can't be made. Though both the issues are equally deplorable but it is no denying the fact that the annulment of triple talaq will empower the woman to have the ball in her court. The law will dramatically reduce the rate of divorce among the muslims which will automatically solve the issue of maintenance to an extent, obliterating the cause of maintenance.

The issue should not be viewed as majority vs minority but as a tussle within the religion for the rights of women, a measure for her upliftment , allowing her to be treated equally to the women of other religion. When the centre is ready to take a leap forward and bring a legislation, it is a challenge for the Supreme Court to go through the razor's cut for the re-establishment of virtues of equality and secularism of the Indian constitution.

- Ayonija Tripathi