April 22, 2018

Lok Sabha approves law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence

31 December 2017, 12:59 | Francis Delgado

Bill criminalising triple talaq introduced in Lok Sabha

Bill criminalising triple talaq intriduced in Lok Sabha

The passing of the triple talaq Bill, officially known as the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, on the same day as it was introduced, without incorporating any of the suggested amendments from the political Opposition, and without consulting any of the stakeholders - the Muslim women activists who led the fight against instant triple talaq leading the Supreme Court to pronounce it "unconstitutional and void" in August this year - sets a unsafe precedent.

Clarifying that the husband can always apply to the magistrate for bail, Prasad said that not only does the proposed law declare instant triple talaq void and illegal, it also makes such a pronouncement punishable with a fine and imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.

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Several Opposition members pointed at the contradictions in the bill, and slammed it for being poorly drafted. "The Congress will support any and every law abolishing instant triple talaq".

Members said the government needed to dispel the perception of harbouring "ulterior motives" in pushing through the Bill. "This provision is not changed in the new bill", said Zuhara.

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If the Congress joins the BJP in supporting the bill, it would have a smooth passage and many Muslim women would swerve towards it (the Congress) when it comes to electoral politics.

Congress members protested the introduction of the National Medical Commission Bill by Health Minister J P Nadda, demanding that it be sent to the parliamentary standing committee for thorough scrutiny. The Bill effectively criminalises talaq-e-biddat, or instant triple talaq from a Muslim husband to his wife, whether granted orally, or via a written text on WhatsApp, SMS or email, among other forms.

Conspicuously, none from the Trinamool Congress participated in the discussion.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Thursday during the winter session of Parliament. Party sources said the decision had to do with the party's electoral compulsions in West Bengal. "Women of other communities have enjoyed legal protection but Muslim women have suffered; in this regard, we welcome the bill". She said all doors for reconciliation in a marriage would shut once the husband goes to jail. He said the SC had asked the government to pass a law on the matter. "We were expecting that after this judgment, triple talaq cases would come down and situation would improve... but... about 300 triple talaq cases happened in 2017 and 100 were reported after the Supreme Court's judgment", he said, adding that there was one report of a woman being given triple talaq merely because she woke up late in the morning. She said the government should not isolate a single community, and instead let family courts intervene to send estranged couples for counselling.

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