New Delhi: Coming down heavily on Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Friday said in a blog post that the Congress President’s promise to withdraw the Triple Talaq Bill, pending in Parliament and seeking to penalise the practice, was a repetition of history. “History has repeated itself, neither as a satire nor as a tragedy. It has repeated itself with a mindset of cruelty,” Jaitley said in the post.

Taking another dig at Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley wrote, “Votes are important, so is fairness. Political opportunists only look at the next day’s Headlines. Nation-builders look at the next Century.”

In the blog post titled, “Does the Bareilly “Nikah-Halala” not shock your conscience?”, Jaitely recalled when former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi legislatively overturned the 1978 “Shah Bano judgement of the Supreme Court which guaranteed maintenance of all Muslim women,” adding, that “he allowed women to be driven to poverty and destitution.”

Arun Jaitley then went on to compare the Shah Bano instance with Rahul’s “retrograde step” to withdraw triple talaq bill, saying both drove “women into destitution”. He said, “Thirty-two years later his son has taken another retrograde step to drive them not merely into destitution but also to live a life which is an antithesis of human existence. The Muslim woman in Bareilly has been forced into animal existence.”

In the first half of the blog, the former finance minsiter likened the practice of Nikah Halala to “Sati and Untouchability”. “Some practices which survived for centuries were so obnoxious (as Sati and Untouchability) are now considered as unconstitutional,” Jaitley wrote in the post.

Arun Jaitley यांनी वर पोस्ट केले गुरुवार, ७ फेब्रुवारी, २०१९

On February 7, the opposition Congress announced that it will scrap the law banning triple talaq if it forms a government in 2019. Following which, the BJP accused the Congress of following the policy of appeasement and referring to the “audacity” of Rahul Gandhi as not caring about the Supreme Court.

“What kind of mentality is this? This is only to appease. The people of this country are looking. Neither Muslim women nor the people of this country will forgive Rahul Gandhi for this kind of perverted mentality,” said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

Notably, the Triple Talaq Bill remains stuck in the Rajya Sabha in face of a combined opposition insisting that it be scrutinised by a select committee of the House. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, which was passed by Lok Sabha on December 27 last year, couldn’t pass through the opposition muster in the Upper House.

About Shah Bano case

  • Shah Bano, who was 62 years old in 1978, was divorced by her husband using the triple talaq law.
  • Bano, who was left with five children, approached the court to seek justice.
  • The Madhya Pradesh High Court had instructed Bano’s husband Mohammed Ahmed Khan to provide Rs 179 per month as maintenance.
  • The case reached Supreme Court, with the bench announcing a verdict in 1985, instructing that Shah Bano should be provided all the benefits which divorced women from other religious communities are entitled to.
  • The observations of court drew a sharp reaction from conservative Muslims, who called it a violation of their religious affairs.
  • Fearing ire from the Muslim community, Congress government at Centre led by Rajiv Gandhi amended the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. The amended legislation nullified the Supreme Court’s order.