Triple talaq is criminal offence

Larry Hoffman
September 20, 2018

Triple talaq or instant divorce is now a punishable offence as President Ramnath Kovind gave his assent to the executive order, earlier cleared by the Union cabinet.

After the Supreme Court verdict, PM Modi's government introduced a bill criminalizing the practice and it was approved in December by the lower house of Parliament, where his party commands a majority.

However, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, has diluted three provisions.

The triple talaq bill aims to "set aside" the centuries-old practice of instant divorce or talaq-e-biddat by men.

In a report published in 2015 entitled No More Talaq Talaq Talaq - Muslim Women Call for a Ban on an UnIslamic Practice, stair Mahmoud of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Delhi said: "There is nothing in the law of Islam suggesting that the husband is free to exercise the power of talaq in an arbitrary and irrational manner, but this is exactly what Muslim men in our times are doing". "It is purely an issue of gender justice, gender dignity and gender equality", he said. "A compromise can also be reached before a magistrate after the affected woman consents to it", he said.

Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there was a "compelling necessity and an overpowering urgency" to approve the ordinance.

"For us, triple talaq has always been a human issue related to women rights and extending justice to them", he said, adding Congress leaders and lawyers such as Salman Khurshid and Manish Tiwari had represented the affected women before the Supreme Court.

"And by criminalising this practice and imposing a draconian prison term, this government is only revealing its intention of going after Muslim men", she told The Quint.

The offence of triple talaq is a non-bailable offence.

Mr Prasad also said the magistrate can grant the accused bail, on reasonable grounds, but only after hearing the wife. She said that because the measure targets the Muslim community, it plays into the country's Islamophobic rhetoric - "they use it as political propaganda that 'We have saved our Muslim sisters.' " The order also puts women "in greater danger", she says, because their husbands will be jailed, leaving them without compensation.

Between January 2018 to August. the Parliament sessions were a washout because of which the Bill was not tabled in Parliament.

The second amendment makes only the victim (wife) or her blood relations or people who become her relatives by marriage able to lodge the complaint. Any person who will still continue the practice of triple talaq could be jailed upto 3 years or will be fined heavily.

He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should bring a law to protect Hindu women deserted by their husbands.

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