NEW DELHI: The government on Sunday gave a higher profile to the law against triple talaq, marking the ‘Muslim Women’s Rights Day’ two years after the practice became a criminal offence, and claimed a decline of 80% in such cases.
The Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that it is estimated that there has been a reduction of about 80% compared to the period prior to the law. He said that a database of cases was being compiled by the ministry to enable a detailed analysis.
Naqvi along with women and child development minister Smriti Irani and environment and labour minister Bhupendra Yadav also made a strong pitch for a “convergence model” to empower women from minority communities through existing schemes linked to nutrition, education and entrepreneurship. The occasion could be seen in a political light given BJP’s long-standing demand for a uniform civil code and the Uttar Pradesh election early next year. Criminalisation of triple talaq has been seen as a polarising issue which has not found favour with large sections of Muslim opinion.
Last year to mark the first anniversary of the law, the ministry had put out data based on previous estimates and information on cases gathered to highlight that there was a significant decline. Reports collected from minority commissions, Waqf Boards and local administration were shared by the ministry of minority affairs. These institutions and authorities received 1,039 talaq-i-biddat cases since August 2019. The Supreme Court had declared instant talaq as void and illegal in 2017.
However, this year Naqvi said that despite attempts to collect data, state level functionaries were unable to collect it as the authorities were busy battling the Covid-19 pandemic. At a programme organised in Delhi on Sunday, in the presence of Muslim women including victims of triple talaq, Naqvi shared that there has been a significant decline in cases.
Naqvi said the latest data was being collected and next year to mark three years of the law, the government will bring together women from across the country to the national capital to share and reflect on the impact of the legislation. As per data shared last year, between 1985 to August 2019 there were maximum cases of instant triple talaq in Uttar Pradesh at 63,400, followed by 38,617 from Bihar and 33,122 from Rajashtan.
Over one year since August 2019, the maximum complaints and cases pertaining to instant triple talaq were from Uttar Pradesh at 281 followed by 203 from Telangana/Andhra Pradesh, 201 from West Bengal and 102 from Maharashtra. There were 83 cases from Rajasthan, 49 from Bihar, 32 from Madhya Pradesh, 26 each from Tamil Nadu and Haryana, 19 from Kerala and 17 from Assam.