"New Delhi : Should unilateral, triple talaq be banned? An overwhelming number of Muslim women in the country think so.In a first of its kind study, the women have unequivocally voiced their dissent against the discriminatory practice of triple talaq with 92.1% seeking its ban. Oral talaq delivered through new media platforms like Skype, text messages, email and Whatsapp have become an increasing cause of worry for the community.A study conducted across 10 states by NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) — working for reforms in Muslim personal law — found that a majority of the women were economically and socially disadvantaged, over half had been married before the age of 18 and had faced domestic violence.The study, which interviewed 4,710 women between July and December 2013, reveals that 91.7% of the respondents opposed a second marriage by their husbands.About 73% women surveyed were from families that earned less than Rs 50,000 annually and 55% were married before they reached 18. An overwhelming 82% had no property in their name and 78% were homemakers, indicating absence of income. Over 53% reported having faced domestic violence in their lives while a majority was poorly educated.“In 2014, of the 235 cases that came to women Sharia adalats that we run, 80% were of oral talaq,” author of the study Zakia Soman said, adding that women were forced to bear the brunt of the practice.Most women (93%) were in favour of an arbitration process before divorce and 83.3% believed that codification of Muslim family law would help get justice. Codification of Muslim personal law has been resisted by the community citing religious interference.Responding to this, Soman said, “Government has molly-coddled and appeased those groups which have taken upon themselves to speak for the community. It is our constitutional right. For groups that cite religious freedom as an argument, it is at the expense of women’s rights.”Co-author Noorjehan Safia Niaz said, “An overwhelming number of women demands reforms in Muslim personal law. They want an elaborate codified law based on the Quranic justice framework to cover matters such as age of marriage, divorce procedures, polygamy, maintenance and custody of children.”BMMA plans to take the issue up with the government, Law Commission and the National Commission for Women (NCW).
WOMEN’S POWER: ITS PAST, ITS PRESENT, ITS FUTURE: FEMOCRACY