The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs, asking them to be present in the House, where the Narendra Modi Cabinet on Friday will take up the proposed Triple Talaq bill, which makes the practice of instant divorce illegal and imposes a jail term of up to three years on the husband.
Earlier in the day, anticipating a wide-spread misuse of the proposed law, the Centre approved certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial.
In the tweaked version, the accused will have to approach a magistrate for bail, since the proposed law will remain 'non-bailable' even after changes. Under a non-bailable law, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself.
The magistrate, however, will allow the bail only after the husband agrees to grant compensation to his wife as provided in the bill.
Two other amendments suggest that the complaint can be filed by the woman or her blood relations or other family members who become her relatives by virtue of her marriage.
The Union Cabinet made the changes after the bill was stalled in the Rajya Sabha in January, amid protests by the oppositions. Though the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha, the united opposition in the Upper house did not give its nod citing lack of 'safeguards' in the law.
Now, with the government made significant changes in the proposed law, the new version is expected to win the support of the Congress and several other opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
For those unversed, Triple Talaq is a form of Islamic divorce, in which Muslim men are allowed to give an instant divorce to their wives by saying the word ‘talaq’ thrice.
If passed in Rajya Sabha, the proposed bill will make Triple Talaq an offence with a jail term of up to three years and a fine. The woman will be entitled to maintenance.