The Union Cabinet Thursday (9 August 2018) approved inclusion of provisions that the complaint in such a case can only be filed by the victim (wife) or blood relations, and that a magistrate can grant bail with terms and conditions.
Under the amendments cleared, a magistrate will have powers to grant bail. The woman can approach the magistrate to seek subsistence allowance for herself and her minor children, and can also seek custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the matter.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, introduced after the landmark 3-2 verdict of the Supreme Court which set aside the centuries-old practice of talaq-e-biddat or instant triple talaq in which Muslim men divorce their wives by uttering talaq three times in quick succession, has cleared Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha where the government lacks numbers.
The Triple Talaq Bill is tabled in the Rajya Sabha by the Narendra Modi government for a discussion and its subsequent passage. If the Rajya Sabha today passes the amended bill, it will go back to the Lok Saba for an approval before seeking Presidential assent. The original bill was cleared by the Lower House in December last year but it couldn’t sail through the Upper House given that the Modi government lacks numbers.
Here’s a 10-point round-up of all you need to know about the issue and where it stands currently:
- On December 28, the Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection Bill, 2017), which criminalises the practice of talaq-e-bidda.
- This came after the Supreme Court on August 22, 2017, struck down triple talaq, calling the Islamic practice unconstitutional.
- The bill – which must be pas passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha – criminalises the practice of divorcing by uttering the word “talaq” thrice in succession.
- It also proposes a three-year jail term for men who violate the law.
- While the draft bill easily passed in the Lok Sabha, it ran into trouble in the Upper House, with some opposition parties demanding that a bail provision be included in the bill.
- Union Cabinet made some amendments to the draft bill
- The first amendment allows only a woman, or a close relative , to file a police case against her husband for instant trip triple talaq.
- Another amendment makes it clear that the police will lodge an FIR only if approached by the victim, her blood relations or people who become her relatives by marriage.
- The third amendment makes instant triple talaq “compoundable”. That is, now, a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife.
- If the bill is cleared by the Upper House, it will have to go to the Lok Sabha for approval of amendments.
Muslims Are Jailed In Dowry Law Then Why Opposing Triple Talaq?- Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi on Thursday, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wondered whether the Congress, the BSP and the TMC would continue to oppose the bill even after insertion of the provision of bail.
“Under the Dowry Act, Muslims and others go to jail… they are also jailed under the Domestic Violence Act… why oppose jail for triple talaq,” he said.
Urging UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee, to support the bill, Prasad said that if Congress does not support the triple talaq bill, Gandhi should not talk of gender justice, dignity and equality.
Prasad also pointed out that in 2017, a total of 389 cases of instant triple talaq were reported. Between January and August last year, 229 cases were reported. “This shows that the bill is required even after the Supreme Court struck down triple talaq as illegal.” Even after the bill was introduced, 160 cases were reported.
The triple talaq bill was passed in the Lok Sabha last year, but remains pending in the Rajya Sabha amid Opposition’s reservations. The Supreme Court in 2017 had banned instant triple talaq, but activists and lawyers urged the government to implement a concrete law to lay down the punishment that would be handed to the offenders.
What is Triple Talaq?
It is a practice in India that allows Muslim men to divorce their wives in an instant is facing fierce opposition. “Triple talaq” – divorcing by saying the word talaq three times – is legal for Muslims in India but controversial. It is banned across much of the Islamic world.
There are three forms of talaq (divorce): Ahsan, Hasan and Talaq-e-Biddat (triple or instant talaq). Ahsan and Hasan are revocable. Biddat — pronouncing divorce in one go by the husband — is irrevocable.
It has generated debate around the rights of Muslim women as the issue of divorce, marriage, and inheritance come under the purview of the Muslim Personal Laws.
However, if the Upper House of the Parliament fails to pass the bill, the Centre intends to bring in an ordinance or an emergency executive order to enact the law, reported NDTV.
This is a developing story! Stay connected with Awaaznation for all updates!