The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, which criminalises instant triple talaq, in Lok Sabha on Thursday. The Muslim Women Bill Criminalises Instant Triple Talaq!
- The bill imposes a prison term of up to three years and fine on husbands who violate the law. It also has a provision for alimony for the woman on whom instant triple talaq has been pronounced and grants her the custody of her minor children.
- The Lok Sabha, which passed two bills including the Indian Forests amendment bill, will also see the bill to amend The Specific Relief Act, 1963, to cap compensation for infrastructure and development projects, as granted by courts.
- The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down “talaq-e- biddat” (instant triple talaq).
- The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or “talaq-e-biddat” and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children. The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.
In The Draft
Under the draft law, triple talaq in any form—spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp—would be bad or illegal and void. According to the draft law, which would be applicable to the entire country except for Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant talaq would attract a jail term of three years and a fine. It would be a non-bailable, cognisable offence. After the Supreme Court order striking down the practice, the government was of the view that the practice would end. But it continued and there have been 177 reported cases of instant talaq before the judgement and 66 after the order this year. Uttar Pradesh tops the list.
- Muslim family affairs in India are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 (often called the “Muslim Personal Law”). It was one of the first acts to be passed by the Government of India Act, 1935 became operational, introducing provincial autonomy and a form of dyarchy at the federal level. It replaced the so-called “Anglo-Mohammedan Law” previously operating for Muslims and became binding on all of India’s Muslims.
- The Shariat is open to interpretation by the ulama (class of Muslim legal scholars). The ulama of Hanafi Sunnis considered this form of divorce binding, provided the pronouncement was made in front of Muslim witnesses and later confirmed by a sharia court. However, the ulama of Ahl-i Hadith, Twelver and Musta’li persuasions did not regard it as proper. Scholar Aparna Rao states that, in 2003, there was an active debate among the ulama