AThe All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex body of Indian Muslims, on Sunday vowed to continue its efforts to stop passage of the triple talaq bill by Parliament.
It also indicated that if the bill, in its present form, is passed by Rajya Sabha after being passed by the Lok Sabha, they will challenge it in the Supreme Court.
The indication came after the board's 26th plenary, which concluded here on Sunday.
AIMPLB Secretary Zafaryab Jilani told a news conference that during the plenary, board member and senior lawyer at Bombay High Court Yusuf Hathim Muchhala gave his opinion that if the bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha in its present form, it may be challenged in the Supreme Court. He hopes that the apex court will strike down the legislation.
Jilani said the board had not taken any formal decision on the issue but this was examined during the meeting.
The board said that the bill is against the Shariat and the Constitution. "The Talaq-e-Biddat bill moved by the central government is anti-women. It will create more difficulties for women. It is against Shariah and it is against the Constitution," it said in a statement.
"The Board will start a country-wide awareness campaign against this Bill and will also coordinate with the opposition parties which are opposing the Bill. Country-wide, women's empowerment meetings will be continuously held," it added.
AIMPLB Secretary Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said that the board is taking various steps to stop instant triple talaq which is considered a sin in Islam. The board has already called for social boycott of those giving instant triple talaq.
The board is of the view that the legal punishment to those giving instant triple talaq will harm the interests of women. "Such people out of fear of imprisonment will keep their wives hanging. They will neither divorce their wives nor give them their rights," he said.
The board's efforts also include community reforms campaign, which will touch every habitation and every mosque. There is another proposal that a programme be held to educate of all those youth who are going to marry and the newly-married about their duties in the marital life and the need to avoid triple talaq.
The model nikahnama prepared by the board includes an oath by the bridegrooms at the time of marriage that they will not give instant triple talaq.
Rahmani said the model nikahnama clearly mentions the rights of women. The copy of this nikahnama was submitted in the Supreme Court during hearing on triple talaq issue. The plenary decided that circulation of this model nikahnama should increased.
Asma Zehra, president of AIMPLB's women wing, said the issue of triple talaq was raked up by media. She claimed that divorce rate is the least in the Muslim community.
Noting that the board had started helpline for women, she said the marital disputes need counseling and reconciliation and the board was discussing the proposal for counseling centres.
The plenary endorsed the reform movement launched by the board. It was decided to form state and district level committees to expand the movement.
The AIMPLB observed in its 'Hyderabad declaration' that the country is passing through a very critical phase. "Its democratic values are being systematically eroded. Minorities, especially Muslims and other backward sections, are being subjected to a spate of atrocities. Attempts are also being made to outlaw, alter or change certain aspects of the Islamic Sharia. Under these circumstances, Muslims for sure are feeling insecure," it said.
"But, even in these critical times, there is no need for the Muslims to feel dejected or disappointed or lose faith in their strength. Conscientious communities and nations are subjected to trials and tribulations and they face the situation with determination and courage strength and strategy," said the declaration.
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