The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has proposed a draft Muslim family law, which, it says, is based on Quran and lives up to the constitutional principles of gender equality. The proposed draft law, BMMA co-founder Zakia Soman told reporters in Delhi, aims at ending the legal discrimination faced by Muslim women in India. It covers marriage, methods of divorce, questions of polygamy, nikah halala and muta, inheritance as well as adoption.
While welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict last month in which it held triple talaq among Muslims as “void, illegal and unconstitutional”, the BMMA expressed disappointment that the issues of ‘nikah halala‘ and polygamy among Muslims, raised by them, were not taken up during the hearing.
BMMA was one among the five petitioners on whose plea the Supreme Court invalidated the practice of instant triple talaq (instant divorce) or talaq-e-biddat wherein a Muslim man could divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq thrice in one go.
BMMA’s draft legislation advocates talaq-e-ahsan, where divorce is given over a span of three months and with arbitration, for both men and women. It also states that khula, the manner in which Muslim women seek divorce, need not be dependent on the consent of husband.
While terming the Supreme Court verdict on instant triple talaq as a beginning in the right direction, Soman said the apex court has passed on the responsibility of legislation to the state. “The Supreme Court has done its job, it is now the state’s turn.”
In the context of instant triple talaq cases being filed after the verdict, Noorjehan Niaz, co-founder of BMMA, suggested that till the time the legislation comes into effect, police stations need to be told to support such women and tell husbands that divorces are no longer arbitrary.
Niaz also said Muslim women should also be allowed to file cases under the Domestic Violence Act if her husband divorces her unilaterally.
BMMA will put up the draft law on its website for suggestions from public. It will also circulate it among parliamentarians and members of civil society.