When Nazreen, a resident of Lisadi Gate area of Meerut, filed a case against her husband Salman on August 2 for giving her instant triple talaq, she expected the police to arrest him.“It has been 17 days, and he is still at large. My guess is that he fled to Saudi Arabia where his father is working as a driver. He used to beat me, asked for dowry and on July 29, he gave me instant triple talaq over the phone,” Nazreen told The Hindu.The police registered an FIR under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, but Nazreen said it didn’t meet her expectations from the law.Tanveer, brother of Bushra, who was given instant triple talaq by her husband Mohsin in Jaani area of Meerut, had similar expectations from the police. “There has been no movement in the case. I want to see him [Bushra’s husband] behind bars,” said Tanveer. Like Nazreen, Bushra also allegedly faced domestic violence and dowry demands.FIRs against husbandsIt has almost been three weeks since The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 came into practice and Uttar Pradesh is seeing a spurt in cases where Muslim women are lodging FIRs to put their husbands behind bars for giving them instant triple talaq.According to an agency report, three dozen cases of instant triple talaq have been filed in the State since August 1, when the President put his seal on the Bill.In Hapur, a woman was allegedly given instant triple talaq on August 13 after she asked her husband to provide ₹30 to buy medicines. In Bareilly, Chand Bi was allegedly given instant triple talaq by her husband because she didn’t know how to cook. On August 9, three cases of instant triple talaq were registered in Bareilly in a day.In Etah, Aamir allegedly said talaq thrice to his wife Seema in the court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate where the two had gone for the hearing of a domestic violence case.Going by the number of cases, it seems, either the Act is not working as a deterrent, or women are filing complaints under sections of the new Act to add bite to already existing cases of domestic violence and dowry.Criminal proceedings Superintendent of Police (Rural), Meerut, Avinash Pandey said criminal proceedings have been started in the case that is under his domain. “There could be a perception that the FIR will lead to immediate arrest in such cases but the due investigation process needs to be followed. In Sections, which attract punishment of fewer than seven years, an immediate arrest is not necessary unless there is a threat to the life of the victim.”On the triple talaq law, he said it definitely has more teeth than Section 498A which asks for a period of mediation. “If used with the right intentions, it could be an empowering tool,” Mr. Pandey said.An anti-triple talaq crusader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, differed. “When we took the fight to the Supreme Court, we expected to get a fortified Act on the lines of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. What we have got at the end is a politically motivated legislation that seeks to put more Muslim men in jail.”Harvard-trained lawyer and gender activist Nazia Izuddin said, “The triple talaq law, if aimed at reformation, must be able to empower lawyers to get monetary relief/alimony, custody of children and safety and protection of the life of the woman and children. In its current form, the law doesn’t provide these remedies or restitution of marital rights to the woman.”
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