NEW DELHI: The law enacted last year against triple talaq was meant to deter the undesirable social practice and central government data suggests that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, has succeeded to a large extent in doing that.
Only 1,039 incidents of triple talaq were reported in the country in last one year) since the law was enacted in August 2019), whereas 3,82,964 cases or instant divorce were reported from 1985 to 2019, which averages out to be 11, 264 cases per year. The data shows the law has significantly empowered Muslim women in protecting their marriages.
Data of Union ministry of Minority Affairs accessed by this newspaper shows that Uttar Pradesh occupied the pole position in reporting triple talaq cases since 1985, when the Shah Bano case shot into limelight.
Against 63,400 cases of triple talaq during 1985-2019 — recording per year average of 1,865 cases — UP reported only 281 such cases in the last one year. BJP leaders stress that Muslim women in the state had vociferously supported the legislation even while Opposition parties had taken contrarian views.
Shah Bano hailed from Madhya Pradesh, which reported 22,801 cases of triple talaq since 1985 — averaging over 670 cases per year — illustrating that the overturning of the Supreme Court judgment in Shah Bano’s case by the then Rajiv Gandhi government bypassing the Muslim Women (Protection on Divorce Act) had seemingly furthered the practice among the Muslims. In the last one year, MP reported just 32 cases.
West Bengal had reported the second-highest number of cases since 1985 at 51,800 — with per year average of 1,523 — but the law criminalizing triple talaq has seemingly reined in the practice as the state reported just 201 cases in the last one year. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also had a major share in the number of triple talaq cases at 41,382 during 1985-2019, averaging at 1,217 cases every year.
However, the two states had a combined tally of just 203 cases in last one year, suggesting the law was working as a deterrent.
Kerala and Assam, too, have shown remarkable data. In the southern state, the cases of instant divorce, slumped to just 19 from a total of 23,233 during 1985-2019, an average of 683 cases per year. Assam followed suit, with just 17 cases in last one year against 19,008 incidents, averaging 559 per year, during 1985-2019.
Bihar also felt a sobering effect of the landmark legislation, reporting just 49 cases compared to a total of 38,617 during 1985-2019, averaging nearly 1136 cases every year. The trend stays the course in Maharashtra where 102 cases were reported in last one year against a total of 39,200 — yearly average of 1,153.