GOOD STEP

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Dec 2018 12:48:53

THE passage of the Triple Talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha marks one more positive step towards a major social reform. No matter what the opponents to the idea say, it is a reality that the Bill that aroused much controversy in the country’s social arena stands cleared by the Lok Sabha, and is now headed for passage to the Rajya Sabha. There is every reason to hope that the Rajya Sabha, too, will pass the Bill in due course of time so that triple talaq stands banned from the Indian scene.

The most important point of opposition to this Bill was that the Muslim community might consider it as against its interests. That is the reason why Union Law Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad stressed while piloting the Bill in the Lok Sabha that no community should ever consider it as a tool to beat down its interests. This has been the refrain of all reformists who have favoured discontinuance of the custom since it meant to heap untold insult on Muslim women who were thrown out of marriage in a moment.

There often are two sides to a coin, and this one did, too. The country saw massive demonstrations even by Muslim women seeking a continuance of triple talaq custom, citing religious considerations. Much of a political game, too, got played around the proposed Bill, and the whole controversy dragged on for decades. What settled the matter in favour of the scrapping of the custom was the clear verdict of the honourable Supreme Court stating that it should be scrapped as early as possible. And because the Supreme Court favoured its scrapping, the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha became easier.

Some of the opponents of the Triple Talaq Bill also raised the issue of Personal Laws of other communities and wondered how the nation would treat those. The most standard argument is that when the country has a common civil code, all other laws should become secondary. This argument does have its own appeal, and eventually such a condition may come in when Common Civil Code would become the only law by which justice would be considered in our country.

That will be an ideal condition, though, and our society will have to travel a long distance before that milestone is reached. But that is our national goal and a slow but sure march towards that destination is in our best interest. It will be a golden letter day when the Indian society rises above sectarian and partisan law and deals with its contentious issues on the basis of common legal consideration -- beyond caste, creed, or religion, and finally far beyond politics.

Once we are able to attain such a status of our law, we will actually start making better progress and ensure better growth of our country in all aspects. This is certainly not easy, of course, but not impossible either. If the leaders of all communities think constructively and shed their prides and prejudices for and against anything, we will be able to achieve a truly equitable status of all communities that inhabit our great land.

However, such an achievement will be possible if we change our political rhetoric and seek a clearer and apolitical stance without pride and prejudice for narrow social goals. Such a change will be slow to come, naturally, and will test our collective patience on several counts. Yet, if we are able to endure those phases of uncertainty, if we are in a position to evolve a strong national narrative in favour of a truly secular ideal beyond politics, we will be able to sort of many an issue that dogs our public life. The appeal of Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad in this regard has its importance -- that we should keep aside our political considerations in favour of a genuine social reform.

The passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha, therefore, marks an important and positive step forward in the right direction. There could still be some resistance to the further journey of the Bill to becoming a law. We should be satisfied, much progress has been made in the past some time in the truest public interest.