A whopping majority of 93% Muslim women from the Northeast Delhi said that they are in favour of the 2017 Supreme Court verdict that deemed the practice of instant triple talaq unconstitutional.
Northeast Delhi has the highest concentration of Muslim population in the National Capital Territory – with 29.34 percent of them belonging to the community. The findings are a part of a recent report released by the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) – nearly three years after the apex court’s landmark judgment on 22 August 2017.
Titled ‘Socio-Economic & Educational Status of Muslim Women’, the study was conducted based on survey of 600 women, spread across 30 localities in the capital’s northeast area. The DMC study was conducted with an aim to understand what aspects and issues concerning the area would need more concentration in order to achieve better development goals.
While the study was supposed to be conducted in 2017, it could be commissioned only in 2020 due to bureaucratic hurdles, said the minority commission in their report.
'NEW LEASE OF LIFE' VS 'CULTURE WILL CONTINUE'
When asked about the SC verdict on triple talaq, 93 percent of women said that they were aware of the verdict and welcomed it. Importantly, 100 percent respondents, all 600 of them, said that there was no incident of triple talaq in their locality, the survey said.
However, it is unclear whether the survey asked the respondents about their views on the Parliament passing a legislation in 2019 that made the practice a criminal offence, even as a few Opposition parties stated that it “targeted members of the Muslim community in guise of gender justice”.
When asked whether respondents were asked about the legislation, a senior member of the The Development Oriented Operations Research & Surveys (DOORS), which conducted the survey on behalf of the DMC, said: “Our job was to only conduct the survey. We ran through the questions, got it approved by the DMC and conducted the survey following that. Why the question was not asked comes under the purview of the commission.”
However, DMC Chairman Zafarul Islam Khan resigned from his position earlier on 17 July, thus dissolving the other members of the committee.
According to the report, women said that the SC’s triple talaq verdict has given them a “new lease of life”.
“In their opinion, a majority of women who were aware of the court decision welcomed it, with some of them saying that with this decision Muslim women have got a new lease of life,” the report stated, on behalf of 558 women.
However, seven percent (42 women surveyed) of them said either they were not aware or that “the culture” will continue.
“Whatever be the court’s decision, whatever is followed in their culture will continue,” the report noted, quoting the women.
POLYGAMY NOT PREVALENT
Of the 600 women surveyed, 398 of them were married and 80 of them were widows. It noted that, all 398 of them, which accounts to 66.3 percent of the women surveyed, were all in monogamous relationships.
There was not a single case of polygamous marriage in the area, the report said.
STATE OF LITERACY & EMPLOYMENT
Only eight of the 600 women surveyed had postgraduate degree and 52 women had completed their graduation. A majority – 23.7 percent – only received primary education.
According to the minority commission’s report, this was because of financial problems, lack of access to educational institutions, education of girls not considered important, and family opposition, among others.
Only 9.2 percent of the respondents, 55 of them, are currently employed, while 90.8 percent, accounting to 545 women were not in any gainful employment. Of those employed, at least 19 women are entrepreneurs, while the other 36 are salaried.
The report added that 73.3 percent of respondents were of the opinion that the socio-economic condition of Muslim women has "improved" over the last few years.
“They said that now all girls go to school and have better education than in previous times and their thinking has also changed. They also said that previously they were not allowed to go outside their houses but now things have changed for the better,” the study stated.