New laws should be accompanied by 180-degree change
The new law has made instant triple talaq a cognizable offence, punishable with up to three years in jail
This paper carried a report last week about the first instant triple talaq case to be registered in the city, in Nagpada, since the practice was criminalised by the central government. The new law has made instant triple talaq a cognizable offence, punishable with up to three years in jail.
In the run-up to the practice becoming a law, the Islamic community had been cleaved. There was a section which was against what they called government interference in the Islamic way of life.
There was another section that wanted instant triple talaq banned and deemed as a civil offence, but without this kind of punishment for the offender. Yet another group wanted this law to be passed in the way it is now. After all that tumult, it is a law now. Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to it in his Independence Day speech as well.
This law must be backed by large scale social reform. Laws are only one part of a much larger battle of bringing change at the ground level so that hearts and minds are transformed.
A case in point is Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which was struck down by the Supreme Court. That Section criminalised consensual gay sex between adults. After it was done away with, the LGBT+ community, though heartened by the move, have been stressing on the more important aspect which is about a change in attitudes, that will help make their lives better.
We may have all the laws in the world and these are necessary, but it is awareness and a mindset switch that must run parallel with legal reform. This would equal a 180-degree difference in the lives of those affected.
Concepts like fair play, justice and equality are not just fights for the courts, but have to be practised and embraced fully in daily conduct
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