Amidst protests from a few political parties, including those close to the BJP, the Lok Sabha on passed by voice vote the Bill that makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years.
The proposed law would be applicable to the entire country, except in Jammu and Kashmir. It would make instant talaq punishable and would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence.
Calling it a historic step, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Bill — The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 — will act as a deterrent since there have been 100 cases of triple talaq even after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in August this year.
Highlights of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill:
The Bill seeks to prohibit “any pronouncement (of divorce) by a person upon his wife by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form, or in any other manner”.
The proposed law seeks to make triple talaq a punishable offence and describes the practice as against “constitutional morality” and “gender equity”. Anyone who pronounces instant divorce “shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and a fine”, the bill proposes.
As per the provisions of the Bill, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.
The proposed law will be applicable only to instant triple talaq and will empower 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.