March 31: A high-level committee set up by the Central government to review the status of women in India has reportedly recommended a ban on the practice of oral, unilateral and triple talaq (divorce) and polygamy – a demand already made by a majority of Indian Muslim women.
As per a report , the assessment of family laws governing Muslim community members is part of a voluminous report submitted last year by the panel appointed by the previous Congress-led UPA government.
However, the recommendations of the panel have not been made public as yet.
The Supreme Court, while responding to a plea on the divorce norms, had on Monday directed the Centre to produce the report within six weeks.
The plea was filed by a Muslim woman hailing from Uttarakhand against her triple talaq.
The recommendations of the panel supports the demand for the ban on the grounds that such talaq renders “wives extremely vulnerable and insecure regarding their marital status”.
The panel, in its report, has recommended specific amendments to the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939 coupled with suggestions for introducing provisions to provide interim maintenance.
The report states that payment of maintenance to the wife and children must be made mandatory in the event of separation or divorce.
The landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in 1985 in the Shah Bano case recognised the Muslim woman’s right to maintenance, but was never actually codified in the Muslim personal law.
The report further states that ”all judges should be made aware of the manner in which the SC has interpreted the Muslim Law and has safeguarded the rights of Muslim women.”
The 14-member committee, which was constituted by the Ministry of Woman and Child Development under the UPA government in February 2012, was reconstituted in May 2013.
It was headed by Pam Rajput, founder director of Centre for Women’s Studies, Punjab University.
Last year, a survey conducted by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) claimed that 92.1 percent Indian Muslim women want oral, triple talaq to be banned.