India’s Protection of Rights on Marriage Law Is Major Breakthrough for Women

The Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill became law on July 30, 2019. The law is aimed primarily at preserving the safety and security of Muslim women.

NEW DELHI – Missions Box has steadfastly supported effective action to protect women from abuses wherever they occur. Mistreatment of women takes many forms across the entire globe but nowhere else is that abuse so apparent as it is in developing countries where women are traditionally held in low regard.The Provisions of NGOs South Asia is one of the places where faith-based NGOs have worked tirelessly to create opportunities for women to build a respectable sense of self-worth. For instance, Gospel for Asia, a leading FBO in South Asia, provided free healthcare training for 290,753 women, literacy classes for 61,880 women, and vocational training for more than 11,000 women in 2018 alone. All of the efforts of the NGOs working in South Asia, however, is not sufficient to address every aspect of discrimination against women. There are some areas where governments must step in and stand up for women. And, India has done precisely that. The Protection of Rights on Marriage Law

The Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill became law on July 30, 2019. The law is aimed primarily at preserving the safety and security of Muslim women. It does so by making the practice of Triple Talaq illegal and punishable as a criminal act.

Under the ancient practice of Triple Talaq, a Muslim man may divorce his wife by merely communicating the word “talaq” three consecutive times. In less than three seconds, the marriage is over, the couple is divorced, and the woman is left alone, shamed, and, often, destitute. According to NPR,

“It is totally one-sided. The wives’ feelings are not heard. She’s not given any hearing. She’s not given any room for any kind of dialogue, any kind of negotiation.”

Digital technology has emboldened men to declare the tri-part talaq more frequently. The husband can simply send his wife a text, and the marriage is over.

Although they are a minority in India, they still constitute one of the biggest Muslim populations in the world with about 180 million people, more than half of the total population of the United States.

The Positive Impact of the Law

The effectiveness of any law is its enforceability. The early indications are that the law criminalizing Triple Talaq will be enforced. Prime Minister Modi referenced the new law as a significant step forward in his Independence Day speech on August 15.

Recently, India Today and other sources have reported men being arrested for violating the Rights on Marriage Law.

One man was arrested in Kerala after his wife filed a complaint. He faces the possibility of up to three years in prison.

Another woman in Uttar Pradesh filed a complaint that her husband had divorced her because she asked for 30 rupees to buy some medicines. “He pronounced ‘talaq’ thrice and his family members pushed me out of the house.”

Yet another woman in Sitapur filed a similar complaint only to allegedly have her nose cut off by her husband’s parents when she refused to withdraw her petition.

Police are investigating multiple other cases, including incidents where the husband

  • said his wife did not know how to cook.
  • said his wife failed to give him breakfast
  • is working in the Middle East, and he pronounced the triple talaq over the phone when the wife refused to pay an additional dowry to his parents.

The Indian government has taken a courageous and bold step by making the cultural travesty against women illegal and punishable by imprisonment. The law will certainly not end all discrimination against women, but every action taken to restore dignity to women should be lauded.

To learn more about violence against women, read the following:

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