A new triple talaq Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday to make the practice of triple talaq among the Muslims a penal offence. It will supercede an ordinance issue in September. The ordinance had similar provisions as the Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, popularly known as the triple talaq Bill, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December last year.
Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
An earlier Bill was approved by the lower house. But amid opposition by some parties in the upper house, the government had cleared some amendments, including the introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more palatable. But as the bill continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the government issued an ordinance in September, incorporating amendments.
An ordinance has a life of six months. But from the day a session begins, the ordinance has to be replaced by a bill which should be passed by Parliament within 42 days (six weeks), else it lapses.
The government is at liberty to re-promulgate the ordinance if the Bill fails to get through Parliament.
Introducing the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said despite the Supreme Court striking down the practice of talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq) as unconstitutional, men were divorcing their wives on flimsy grounds and even via Whatsapp. Congress’ Shashi Tharoor opposed the introduction of the Bill, saying divorce cannot be made a penal offence and its provisions were against basic principles of the Constitution.
On December 29, the lower house passed the bill to make instant triple talaq, a criminal offence, just a day after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government proposed it in the Lok Sabha.
The Bill proposes a three-year term for men whoever is found guilty of divorcing his wife by spoken words, written or by means such as SMS, WhatsApp or email.
For the uninitiated, triple talaq is verbal divorce practised by a section in the Muslim community to give instant divorce to their wives by saying the word ‘talaq’ three times.]
(With PTI inputs)