Centre approves ordinance criminalising instant triple talaq: Five things to know

While the SC had struck down the practice calling it unconstitutional, the Triple Talaq Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha over a lack of consensus.
Centre approves ordinance criminalising instant triple talaq: Five things to know
Centre approves ordinance criminalising instant triple talaq: Five things to know
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The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance making Triple Talaq a punishable offence on Wednesday. The bill, named the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, seeks to protect the rights of Muslim women when they are subjected to instant divorce in the form of triple talaq. Under the Islamic Law, a man can end his marriage immediately after he utters ‘talaq’ thrice.

Speaking to the media, Union Minister of Law and Justice and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that making triple talaq punishable has nothing to do with religion. “It is purely an issue of gender justice, gender dignity and gender equality,” he said.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in 2017. It was deferred to the next session in the Rajya Sabha due to a lack of consensus among the political parties on the provisions and is still pending.

Here are five important things to know about the ordinance passed on Wednesday:

  • This ordinance makes triple talaq an offence that is punishable with an imprisonment of three years and a fine.
  • According to the ordinance, the police can register an FIR only on the complaint of the woman who has been subjected to triple talaq by her husband. Additionally, an FIR can also be filed by blood relatives of the woman or by the people who became her relatives through marriage.
  • The offence of triple talaq is a non-bailable offence. This means neither can the police grant bail nor can the accused apply for bail at the police station. The bail application must be heard by a magistrate and will be decided based on the statement of the aggrieved woman.
  • Under this ordinance, the magistrate has the power to settle the dispute within the court, but only if the woman prefers the matter be settled in court, not leading to an arrest. Moreover, a complaint of triple talaq can be withdrawn only at the insistence of the woman.
  • In case the woman prefers to divorce her husband who has subjected her to triple talaq, then the ordinance gives her the right to the custody of her child, and the maintenance for herself and the child is decided by the magistrate.

The Supreme Court had in fact struck down the practice of triple talaq calling it unconstitutional. In a landmark verdict, the apex court disagreed that triple talaq was an integral part of religious practice and found it un-Islamic and “arbitrary”.

Reacting to this move, Asaduddin Owaisi, the President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has called the ordinance unconstitutional since it is made only for Muslim women. He also expressed that in Islam marriage is a civil contract and bringing penal provisions into it is wrong.

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