Oral Talaq should go, says draft law

Organisations to meet in Mumbai to discuss codified Muslim Personal law

Women's organisations from across the country will gather in Mumbai on December 17 to discuss and finalise the draft of a codified Muslim Personal law, which among other things seeks to remove 'oral Talaq', a man divorcing his wife by uttering the word thrice.

The Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan which has taken up the issue of codification of the law has created a draft act, the Muslim Family's Law Act, which will be debated by Muslim women's organisations who will converge on Mumbai on December 17.

"Activists from across the country will converge on Mumbai on December 17 to discuss the draft act. We will also be forcing the state to accept our demands to codify the Muslim law," BMMA founder Shahjehan Safia Niaz said.

Muslims in India are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1936 that makes Shariat applicable to Muslims. Women's groups claim the law being not codified is open to interpretations and prone to be misused against women.

Various women's groups have been demanding that the Muslim Personal Law be codified to make the provisions clear to everyone. However, conservative clergy claim the codification is tantamount to tampering with the Sharia and they are opposed to any codification.

The state is also not very keen on taking up the issue.

One of the points of difference between women's groups and the clergy is oral Talaq. Women's group claim it is unlawful whereas a section of the clergy believes it is acceptable. The draft law proposes a Talak-e-Ahsaan method to do away with oral Talaq. The draft further states any rule or interpretation of Muslim Law which is in force before the commencement of the the new law should cease to have any effect.

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