When few Muslim women were persuaded to approach the Supreme Court against the practice of declaring three talaqs in one sitting that is known as instant triple Talaq, the court asked the government to give its opinion. The government of India had already made up its mind to oppose the practice and it accordingly opposed the practice which is included in the Muslim Personal Law since its inception in the British era. In the court the lawyers pleading on behalf of the Muslim Personal Law Board, told the Apex Court that the practice is allowed in principle but the Muslim religious leaders advised husbands intending to divorce their wives, not to resort to it but to announce three Talaqs with a reasonable time gap instead of declaring the divorce three times in one sitting. After lengthy arguments, the court delivered a split judgment, three opposing triple Talaq and two leaving the matter to the religious leaders of Islam. It was the victory of the government and the petitioners opposing the practice. As a matter of fact the judgment says if a man declares triple talaq it will be ineffective and the marriage will not be broken. There is not even a remote hint in the verdict that the practice should be considered as a crime.
However, the government of India had decided to make the practice a punishable crime and a Bill was introduced making triple Talaq a penal crime. With a brute majority in the Lok Sabha the Bill was passed. The opposition opposed it and it was stuck up in the Rajya Sabha. The practice which was allowed for decades together turned into an urgent matter for the BJP government and it issued an ordinance. After the beginning of Parliament, the ordinance has to be ratified within 42 days or it will lapse. Now the new Bill has been introduced on December 17. While introducing the Bill, the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said despite the Supreme Court striking down the practice of Talaq-e-biddat (instant triple Talaq) men were divorcing their wives on flimsy ground and resorting to this practice. Therefore the Bill has been introduced with certain amendments. The minister did not explain when the court simply struck down the practice, how the government made it a penal crime on the pretext of safeguarding the rights of Muslim women. This is the point that has made the measure ultra vires and it cannot stand judicial scrutiny. It is now being debated in the Lok Sabha and then it is expected to be stuck up again in the Upper House.
The government is anxious to interfere into Muslim Personal Law and therefore it is bent on bringing a law in the name of protecting the rights of Muslim women. What about the rights of lakhs of Hindu women who have been abandoned by their husbands without declaring divorce. Their rights are being constantly infringed by criminally careless husbands, but there is no punishment for them.