On December 27, The Triple Talaq Bill was passed in Lok Sabha amid opposition protest. Two hundred forty-five members voted in favour of the bill while 11 voted against it. The bill has been sent to Rajya Sabha where it was stalled by the opposition as it demands that the bill should be sent to a select committee for further scrutiny.
The Bill is important because it makes all declarations of instant triple talaq null and void and illegal. It seeks to make the practice a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to three years. The Bill will replace the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance which was brought in September 2018.
On opposition protest, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, everybody says that triple talaq is wrong but opposition is adding that don’t make it a criminal offence which is strange logic.
“It was also said that this does not happen in other religions. But the fact is that the practice of triple talaq is not in any other religion,” he also added.
“This is such an important bill that can positively or negatively affect the lives of crores of people. It can’t be passed without going to a select committee,” said Congress leader & the leader of the opposition, Gulam Nabi Azad .
In an interview with ANI recently, PM Modi said that in the world, most of the Islamic nations have banned triple talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. Even in Pakistan, triple talaq is banned. So it is an issue of gender equality, a matter of social justice. It is not an issue of faith.
On this issue, Asaduddin Owaisi, President, AIMIM & Member of Parliament said that homosexuality and adultery were decriminalised by the Supreme Court and this government did not react. Why criminalise triple talaq? The government wants to use it against us.
Terming it ill practice, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that many Islamic nations have put an end to this ill-practice of triple talaq decades ago.
According to this bill, any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever shall be null and void and illegal. Any Muslim husband who pronounces talaq referred to in section 3 upon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
In protection of rights of married Muslim women, the Bill says: “Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in any other law for the time being in force, a married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced, shall be entitled to receive from her husband such amount of subsistence allowance, for her and dependent children, as may be determined by the Magistrate.”
On punishment, it categorically mentions that an offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable if information relating to the commission of the offence is given to an officer in charge of a police station by the married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced or any person related to her by blood or marriage. An offence punishable under this Act shall be compoundable, at the instance of the married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced with the permission of the Magistrate, on such terms and conditions as he may determine. According to this Bill, no person accused of an offence punishable under this Act shall be released on bail unless the Magistrate, on an application filed by the accused and after hearing the married Muslim woman, upon whom talaq is pronounced, is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail to such person.
This Act may be called the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2018. It shall extend to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is worth mentioning that on August 22, 2017, in Shayara Bano matter, who had approached the court against the divorce pronounced by her husband – Rizwan Ahmad on 10.10.2015, the Supreme court “set aside” the centuries-old practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat, which allows any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by uttering the word talaq (the Arabic word for “divorce”) three times in oral, written, or more recently, electronic form. Three of the five judges on the Constitution Bench — Justices Rohinton F Nariman, Uday U Lalit, and Kurian Joseph — had called the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary” and disagreed with the view that triple talaq was an integral part of religious practice.
“It is clear that this form of talaq is manifestly arbitrary in the sense that the marital tie can be broken capriciously and whimsically by a Muslim man without any attempt at reconciliation so as to save it. This form of talaq must, therefore, be held to be violative of the fundamental right contained under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. In our opinion, therefore, the 1937 Act, insofar as it seeks to recognize and enforce triple talaq, is within the meaning of the expression “laws in force” in Article 13(1) and must be struck down as being void to the extent that it recognizes and enforces triple talaq,” Justice F Nariman said while pronouncing the verdict.
It is important to note that after the SC verdict the Bill was sent to Parliament to bring out a proper legislation regarding this but due to less number in upper house the government will have to depend on other parties to pass the Bill.
By Ravi Mishra