Victims: Cops not implementing triple talaq law

Updated: Dec 06, 2019, 07:40 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Press conference convened by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan exposes laxity by cops in helping the women caught up in this form of divorce

Jannat Patel, Shabnam Sheikh and Niloufer Moinuddin share their ordeals during the press conference. Pic/ Ashish Raje
Jannat Patel, Shabnam Sheikh and Niloufer Moinuddin share their ordeals during the press conference. Pic/ Ashish Raje

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) on Thursday sought to highlight the laxity on part of the police to file and pursue complaints from women, who have been victims of triple talaq. Jannat Patel, Shabnam Sheikh, and Niloufer Moinuddin, who formed the panel, narrated their respective ordeals in getting the cops and courts to enforce the Muslim Women's Protection of Right on Marriage Act, 2019.

'Un-cooperative police'
The three women on the panel went on to specifically point out how the police and courts, both, were asking them to go in for mediation instead of treating their case as a criminal case. Patel, who is the first woman to file a complaint under the Muslim Women's Protection of Right on Marriage, said that the police initially refused to take her complaint, and when they finally did, the officer in charge was shifted to another police station.

"He (her ex-husband) gave me instant triple talaq on November 13, 2018...I was seven months pregnant at the time. I first tried to lodge a complaint since the ordinance was out, but they (the police) refused to file it. A few months after that, the law was brought into effect, but the police did not follow up on my case. They did not even know which sections to apply. Finally, an FIR was filed but that has proved to be of no use. He has been granted interim protection until his anticipatory bail application is dismissed. Now, I have to travel all the way from Mumbra to show up in the Bombay High Court with my baby and wait for hours...and all for what? Just to take the next date for the hearing and leave," said Patel.

Her lawyer, advocate Santosh Mariyapal, said, "The most important thing is that there has not been a single hearing till now. The court itself is trying to nudge my client to go for mediation with her husband. They are saying it is a household matter. Her husband indulges in domestic violence as well...how is one supposed to mediate with such a person? The court is not treating the Triple Talaq law as a criminal law. The purpose of the Act is not being served. The police and judges, both are trying to act as counselors."

List of shoddy workers
BMMA also released a list of police stations and police officers who they claim, "need to be held accountable for the shoddy work done, or rather, not done." It includes a senior police officer each from these police stations: Mumbra, Shivaji Nagar, Vakola and BKC.

"If the government is making the law, then it is its job to enforce it as well," said Dr. Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of BMMA, adding, "Seeing the number of rapes and the way women are treated in the country right now, there is an urgent need to change the entire judicial system and procedure. The police are the first step that a woman takes to get justice and if she is stopped here itself, then how can we move ahead?"

Reporter vs organiser
The presser took a stormy turn at a point when a reporter asked the panel to explain, "What exactly is triple talaq?" After one of the panelists went on to tell him in brief about the concept, the reporter countered her and said, "If you do follow Islam..." and made some archaic points about how she was incorrect. At this moment, Dr Niaz stepped in and told the reporter, "You are speaking like an ignorant journalist." The two went on to exchange heated arguments for a couple of minutes, and the reporter told Niaz, "Watch your tone while talking to me."

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