The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance making instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a punishable offense carrying a jail term of up to three years. The step was taken after the government failed to pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, in the Rajya Sabha during the recent monsoon session. Recently, in his fifth Independence Day speech, PM Modi said he was striving to end instant triple talaq but underlined there were some people who do not want the practice to go away.“
India and 22 other countries have banned triple talaq. India’s neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are among the countries that have banned the practice of instant triple talaq prevalent among Muslims for divorce.
In Pakistan and Bangladesh, the law requires the man who wishes to divorce his wife to give the ‘arbitration council’ a written notice of his having done so, and supply a copy of the same to his wife.
In Pakistan, triple talaq was abolished when it issued its Muslim Family Law Ordinance in 1961, according to Geo News. In Afghanistan, divorce through three pronouncements made in only one sitting is considered to be invalid. Sri Lanka’s Marriage and Divorce (Muslim) Act, 1951, amended up to 2006, also prohibits triple talaq.
India follows a secular approach with religious groups being allowed to manage their own affairs within the law, and most of these divorcees never see justice or even a chance at reconciliation with the husband. The move to criminalize instant divorce, therefore, is being touted as a step forward for the rights of Indian Muslim women.