India, the Lower House eliminates Islamic divorce

The law provides up to three years imprisonment for offenders. India is one of the few countries in the world where Islamic marriages are still in force. Muslim women complain of serious forms of discrimination.


New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - With 245 votes in favor and 11 against, yesterday the Lok Sabha (Lower House) of the Indian Parliament approved the law that criminalizes and punishes the practice of Islamic divorce, or "triple talaq". The law now passes to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House), which is responsible for final approval.

The law is entitled Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018 and provides up to three years imprisonment for offenders, that is, Muslim husbands who abandon their wives some even by text message on their mobile phone. In presenting the norm before parliamentarians, Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stressed that the rule is not against any religious community. "There is no policy in the law - he said - It is only about humanity and justice ".

India is one of the few countries in the world where the Islamic law on unions is still in force. Women have long complained that the practice of verbal divorce produces serious discrimination, leaving them at the mercy of their husbands' whims. These often decide to divorce their wives by pronouncing the word "Talaq" (divorce) three times, and are in effect free from marriage bonds.

The battle against verbal Islamic divorce is an initiative of Muslim women gathered in the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (Bmma) association. In 2016 the Bmma decided to challenge the Muslim marriage system and petitioned the Indian Supreme Court. With a ruling in August 2017, the judges defined the practice as "unconstitutional," but leaving the definition of the matter in the hands of Parliament. In December of the same year the Lower House (Lok Sabha) outlawed the practice, providing for imprisonment for offenders. In September, given the delays in the legislative process, the government took the initiative by signing a decree, which yesterday was turned into law by the parliament.