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Characteristics Of Muslim Women Protection Act

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Religion in India is identified by the diverse existence of religious practices and beliefs. The preamble of Indian Constitution clearly states that India is a Secular State. Citizens have Right to choose their religion. Personal Laws are used to regulate matters regarding marriage, divorce, maintenance, etc for Indian Citizen. However, these laws are criticized for Gender inequality and biased attitude. The most criticism for being biased is received by Muslim Personal Laws. There has been the core controversy between personal laws and gender justice.

In the case, Shayara Bano vs. Union of India ,

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  • Shayara Bano (Petitioner) was married to Rizwan Ahmed for 15 years, and later, in 2016, he divorced her through instant Triple talaq (Talaq-e-biddat).
  • It is a form of Islamic divorce which has been used by Muslim men in India to legally divorce his wife by simply pronouncing the word talaq three times in oral, written or electronic form.
  • She filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court and asked to hold three practices talaq-e-biddat, Polygamy and Nikah Halala unconstitutional as these practices violates Article 14, 15(1), 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 14 provides for Equality before Law, Article 15(1) provides for Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of gender, Article 12 provides for Right to life and Article 25 provides for freedom of religion.
  • Talaq-e-biddat is a practice in which Muslim men gets right to divorce their wives by pronouncing the word ‘talaq’ 3 times in one sitting without their wives consent. Polygamy is a practice in which Muslim men’s are allowed to have more the one wife. And Nikah Halala is a practice in which a divorced women’s who wants to remarry their husband’s would have to marry, and obtain divorce, from the second husband before she goes back to her first husband.
  • On February 16, 2017, The Supreme Court of India asked Shayara Bano, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Union of India and other women’s rights bodies to give their written submission on the issue of talaq-e-biddat, polygamy and Nikah Halala. The women’s right organization like Bebaak collective and Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and The Union of India supported the Shayara Bano’s plea that these practices are unconstitutional.

After accepting the Shayara Bano’s petition, the Apex Court formed the five judge constitutional bench on March 13, 2017. On May 11, 2017, the first hearing was declared. And on August 22, 2017, the five judge bench of the Supreme Court by a majority of 3:2 assured its decision in the triple talaq case declaring that the practice of triple talaq was unconstitutional.

BACKGROUND

  • The Muslim Women (Protection of rights on marriage) Act, 2019 comes in the background of preceding practices and judicial judgments. In the case, Mohd. Ahmed Khan vs. Shah Bano Begum and others , Shah Bano, a 62 year old woman filed a writ petition in Supreme Court of India demanding maintenance from her divorced husband Mohd. Ahmed Khan. They were married in 1932 and had 5 children. The maintenance which was demanded was for her and her five children. It was held by Supreme Court that Mohd. Ahmed Khan was liable to pay maintenance money to Shah Bano.
  • But later, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 as passed by the Government of India which diminished the positive impact created by the Shah Bano’s Case. This Act changed the liability of the husband to pay was narrowed to the period of Iddat only. Iddat is the time period which Muslim Women must observe after the death of her husband or after a divorce, during that period she is shall not to marry another man. Generally the period of Iddat is 3 months, but it varies according to a number of circumstances.
  • In the case, Danial Latifi and another vs. Union of India , the validity of the Shah Bano’s Judgment was sustained by the Supreme Court of India.
  • In 2017, Supreme Court of India formed five judge bench and had declared that the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional. This judgment was declared in Shayara Bano vs. Union of India, Shayara Bano who was divorced from her husband after fifteen years of their marriage. He divorced her by means of a letter that had talaq written thrice. She moved to the Court challenging that the practices of talaq-e-biddat, Polygamy and Nikah Halala violates women’s rights under Article 14, 15(1), 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India.
  • Even after the judgment of Shayara Bano’s case in 2017, there were many instances of triple talaq throughout the country, so on the basis on this, the Centre decided to make a law that prohibits the practice of Triple talaq.
  • Later, in September 2017, the Government of India had proposed the Muslim Women (Protection of rights on Marriage) Bill in the Parliament and endeavored to make Triple talaq a punishable and criminal offence under law.
  • At first, in 2017, the Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but failed in Rajya Sabha. Later, The Muslim Women (Protection of rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 was introduced by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice on 21 June, 2019. It took the place of an ordinance implemented on 19th February, 2019.

PROVISIONS OF THE 2019 ACT

  • This Act was made in accordance to protect the rights of the married Muslim women and to ban divorce by uttering talaq by their husbands and to provide for matters connected therewith. The Act is divided into Three Chapters containing Eight Section in total.
  • Chapter 1 states the extent on this Act. Section 1 states that the Act shall be called the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ac, 2019 and it shall extent to the whole of India. Section 2 (a) states that the meaning of ‘Electronic form’ shall have same meaning as stated in Section 2 (1) (r) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. And Section 2(b) allows the Judicial Magistrate of the first class to exercise jurisdiction under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • Chapter 2 declares that the pronouncement or utterance of the word talaq by a Muslim Husband on his wife by means of words, may be written, spoken or in electronic form or by any other means to be illegal and void. If any Muslim man utters the word talaq on his wife as specified in Sec. 3 of this Act then, he will be punished with imprisonment which can be expanded to three years, and will also be liable to pay fine.
  • Chapter 3 Provides for the Protection of Rights of Married Women. Section 5 states that the Muslim married women on whom the word talaq is uttered by her husband is entitled to receive maintenance from her husband, such amount of maintenance allowance, for her and her children, in manner as may be determined by the Magistrate. Section 6 states that the if the word talaq is uttered by Muslim Husband on his wife and, if they have children in such case, the Muslim woman shall be entitled for the custody of her minor children, in such manner as may be determined by the magistrate.
  • Section 7 provides offence to be cognizable, compoundable, etc., in spite of anything stated in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. An offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable, if the Married Muslim woman on whom the word talaq is pronounced or any person related to her by blood or marriage has given the information relating to the performance of the offence to an officer in charge of a police station. Cognizable offence is the one in which the police officer has authority to arrest accused person without any arrest warrant. An offence punishable under this Act shall be compoundable, at the instance of that woman with the permission of the Magistrate, on such terms and conditions as he may determine.
  • The person accused of an offence under this Act shall not be released on bail. The bail can only be granted after hearing the woman on whom the word talaq is uttered and only if magistrate finds reasonable grounds to grant bail.

CONCLUSION

Form this article, it can be concluded that even though the issues of practices like triple talaq were severely criticized, this Act has brought the good change in Islamic Laws. The Act comes with the good positives for Muslim women who had been suffering from the practice of triple talaq for several years. The Act banned the Practice of Triple talaq in India and declared it as a criminal offence. This practice was already banned by more than twenty Islamic Countries.

This Act stands against gender justice discrimination policies against Muslim women and held those practices as unconstitutional. The Act shows respect towards the rights of Muslim Women and declined Social Customs like Triple talaq, polygamy and Nikah Halala.

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Characteristics Of Muslim Women Protection Act. (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 19, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/characteristics-of-muslim-women-protection-act/
“Characteristics Of Muslim Women Protection Act.” Edubirdie, 21 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/characteristics-of-muslim-women-protection-act/
Characteristics Of Muslim Women Protection Act. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/characteristics-of-muslim-women-protection-act/> [Accessed 19 Aug. 2022].
Characteristics Of Muslim Women Protection Act [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 21 [cited 2022 Aug 19]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/characteristics-of-muslim-women-protection-act/
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