Triple talaq finds loophole in compounding provision

Six cases were registered in various police stations in North Kerala alone over the last three months based on triple-talaq complaints by Muslim women. But in most cases, the complainant women were allegedly pressurised by relatives and local community leaders to compound the cases by accepting compensation. Photo/AFP

Even as at least half a dozen cases were registered in Kerala within three months after the law against triple-talaq came into force, many victims are allegedly pressurised to opt for the compounding provision, leaving them with some bargaining power.

Six cases were registered in various police stations in North Kerala alone over the last three months based on triple-talaq complaints by Muslim women. But in most cases, the complainant women were allegedly pressurised by relatives and local community leaders to compound the cases by accepting compensation.

In the latest instance, a 25-year old woman, who staged protest in front of her husband's house near Nadapuram on the rural parts of Kozhikode district for triple talaq, had to end the protest and was forced to compound the case as the husband's family agreed to give Rs 15 lakh and meet the expenses of the children.

Another triple talaq case at Mukkom in rural parts of Kozhikode also showed signs of compromise as the complainant woman did not object to granting bail to husband and releasing his passport. The husband had left the country. The woman was allegedly restricted by her family and local community leaders from making public statements.  It was considered as the first case in Kerala under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage ) Act, 2019.

In yet another triple talaq case registered this month at Balussery police station, which is also in Kozhikode rural areas, the complainant woman was also slapped with a case under the Juvenile Justice Act for allegedly not taking care of her children and she was remanded to judicial custody.

V P Suhara of 'Nisa', an organisation working for Muslim women's rights, said that all these instances could be considered as pressuring the women to use the compounding provision in the new law and thereby create an impression that women were misusing it. In some instances the women were even allegedly compelled to give a declaration that no further legal actions would be initiated against the husband, she said.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage ) Act, 2019 provides for compounding cases at the instance of complainant woman. The terms and conditions of the compounding have to be determined by the magistrate.  

Police sources said that once a case for triple talaq was registered and there was evidence for triple talaq, the police would be filing charge sheets. It is for the women to agree for compounding or not before the court.

Among the three other triple talaq cases registered in North Kerala, one was at Kasargod, another one at Parappanangadi in Malappuram district and a second case at Balussery in Kozhikode rural. 

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