Laws made ostensibly to protect women, have turned out in practice to be often weapons in the hands

The Triple talaq Bill ( The Muslim Women Protection of Rights of Marriage Bill, 2017 ) was passed by the Lok Sabha and will be taken up by the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.

I would ordinarily have supported it, as I regard triple talaq an inhuman practice, and have said so many times. Despite the Supreme Court judgment in Shayara Bano vs Union of India declaring it illegal the practice has continued, and so it was necessary to take strong steps to stamp it out.

However, my apprehension is this : many laws, e.g. section 498A IPC and Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, which were made ostensibly to protect women, have turned out in practice to be often weapons in the hands of estranged vindictive wives to blackmail and harrass their husbands, with the cases often lingering for years, and police sometimes demanding bribes. This has often caused enormous suffering to husbands.

The triple talaq Bill makes the offence of pronouncing triple talaq punishable by 3 years imprisonment and a fine. It has been made a cognizable offence, which means a policeman can arrest without a warrant from a magistrate. Section 7(c) of the Bill says that a magistrate can grant bail after hearing the wife if ' he finds reasonable ground to do so '. In other words, the magistrate is not bound to grant bail.

Suppose there is an estranged Muslim wife. She may turn vindictive, and file a police report falsely alleging that her husband pronounced triple talaq when in fact he did not do so. The police may come to arrest the husband and demand bribe, and arrest the husband if he does not pay it. Though there is a provision enabling the magistrate to grant bail to the husband, that is discretionary, and he is not bound to grant it. Moreover, it can be granted only after hearing the wife, which is bound to take many days, and in the meantime the husband will have to remain in jail, even if he is later released on bail.Though there is a provision in the Bill enabling the wife to withdraw her complaint, she may blackmail her husband, demanding a huge sum of money for doing so.

Source, Justice Markandey Katju's Facebook post here

#MarkandeyKatju #498A #Scrap498a #DomesticViolence #TripleTalaq


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