Why is Divorce a Criminal Offence for Muslims Alone?  Asks Kerala CM

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Defending the practice of triple talaq, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asked why it is considered a criminal offence for Muslims alone when divorce all other religions are seen as civil cases

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Sounding like a rebel with a cause, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister has made many heads turn around, with his remarks that may not be music to the ears of the people in the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party at the centre.

While delivering the speech inaugurating the ruling CPM’s march ‘Janakeeya Prathirodha Jadha’, in Kasaragod on February 20 CM Vijayan gave some contrarian views that have all the ingredients to spark controversy.   

First, he spoke about the BJP’s move to criminalise divorce for Muslims alone, and then he tried the BJP’s move to make religion to be the basis of citizenship, and he also took a dig at the law minister criticising the Supreme Court of India and finally expressing reservation at the Parliament’s inability to agree on the basic structure of the Constitution.   

Pinarayi Vijayan on Triple Talaq said, “Divorce happens in all religions. All others are seen as civil cases. But in the case of triple talaq, it is made a criminal offence for Muslims alone? Can we use a different mode of punishment for each religion? For a person following a certain religion, there’s one law and for another, there is another law. In the case of a divorce, if it’s a Muslim, then he can be jailed, and others are not punished.  “Isn’t this what we are seeing in the case of triple talaq ?” he asked.

On the issue of citizenship, the Chief Minister said, “We are all Indians. Can we say that we got our citizenship because we were born into a particular religion? Has religion ever been the basis for citizenship?”

‘The Centre used religion to decide citizenship through the Citizenship Amendment Act, CM alleged, adding, “We have already cleared our stand on it. Citizenship Amendment Act will not be implemented in Kerala at any cost.

Vijayan said, “Our parliament cannot decide on the basic principles of our Constitution. This was decided by a 13-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case.”

The Sangh Parivar knows that the judgment is not in favour of their agenda and that’s why they denounce the landmark judgment by the Supreme Court.

Vijayan said, “The Vice-President is a constitutional post but he still chose to denounce the judgment in the Kesavananda Bharati case.”

The Chief Minister also criticised India’s Vice-President and Law Minister for attacking the Supreme Court’s Collegium system. ‘The law minister often criticises the Supreme Court,’ he said.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders have come down heavily on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over his remark on triple talaq and said that the CM is indulging in appeasement and wanted to create a narrative that does not exist.

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Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com

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