What happens when a woman is married off early? Early marriage means little or no education, thereby missing out on a chance to be empowered so that one gets to make informed decisions. In India, 13.5 percent of Muslim women are married before they turn 15, and close to 49 percent get married between 14 and 19 years of age, according to 2011 Census data.
If this is the case, women are not equipped or trained to take care of themselves financially, and 95 percent of these women do not get maintenance, according to a survey done by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA).
Shagufta Shah, mother of two daughters from Lucknow, provides yet another instance of such a story. Last week, she wrote a letter to the PM, asking him to bring an end to triple talaq. Her husband gave her a verbal triple talaq and left her on the road as she refused to abort her child. In a country where even a single girl child is considered a burden, her husband was worried that if her their third child also turned out to be a girl, it would mean a further burden on the family. She told India Today,
“When I refused repeatedly, they (husband and the mother-in-law) started torturing me. On March 24, they forcibly tried to take me to the hospital, and when I resisted,they started beating me mercilessly.”
Triple talaq is considered unconstitutional in a lot of countries, and in more than 20 countries, including Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, it is no longer practised. Another survey by BMMA also found that more than 90 percent of Muslim women in India want a ban on triple talaq. This comes as no surprise, as a lot of them have been divorced by their husbands just sending out letters or orally saying "talaq" three times.
As a lot of people have been rallying to make triple talaq illegal, the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of five judges is all set to address the issues of triple talaq, halala, and polygamy during the summer vacation. The court will also examine the possibility of doing away with these practices and bringing in a Uniform Civil Code.
When talking about the Uniform Civil Code with First Post, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Parlimentary Affairs, said,
"The need of the hour is to debate the issue of a UCC across all forums in order to create a consensus. Such a debate must take place at the grassroots level. We must understand all the divergent viewpoints before any draft can be prepared. No comprehensive debate has taken place on this subject in the last one year.”