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Ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister he had hinted a number of times that #Muslim Personal Law needs to be reformed. This was part of the BJP election manifesto. The decks were cleared for him to act when a slew of petitions reached the Apex court and a bench of the SC by majority judgment decided that #Triple Talaq or divorce by saying the words "Talaq" three times was unconstitutional and violated the rights of women. It had directed the government to enact a law to regulate triple talaq, which the SC said was not sanctioned by the Sharia. India today, has reported that after discussion the cabinet approved a draft bill banning triple talaq and making it a criminal offence.

Draft bill

The draft bill will now be introduced in the lower house (Lok Sabha) in the winter session of parliament. Muslim women are elated but some of the Muslim leaders feel the government should not have enacted such a law and left it to Muslim Law Board to do the needful. The draft law stipulates a jail term of three years, for a man who carries out triple talaq. The bill also codifies the responsibility of the man to pay maintenance and support for the wife and children. The offence is proposed to be made cognisable and non- bailable.

Muslim personal law

Reform in the Muslim law has come after seven decades of independence. The Hindu Marriage Act was passed in 1955, but for some strange reason, the Congres party and leader Jawaharlal Nehru did not include Muslims under the act.

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The act was made applicable to Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, and Jains. Arnab Goswami on the Times-News Channel has opined that one reason for this was the need felt by the Congress party to cultivate vote banks. Muslim personal law thus remained untouched for seven decades.

This isolated the Muslim community who remained backward and are among the poorest in India. The Congress ploy worked for some time but now with the BJP in power, the scenario has changed. The Modi government in its election manifesto had promised a #Uniform Civil Code. The declaration of triple talaq as a criminal offence is the first step towards a uniform civil code, which finds mention in the Directive Principles of the Constitution.

Future

Muslim women have celebrated this decision of the Supreme Court but the die-hard Mullahs have opposed it as an interference in the life of Muslims. The clock has moved forward and no party, not even the Congress will be able to stop the passage of this law.