The Lok Sabha on December 27, 2018 passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, also known as, Triple Talaq Bill. Two hundred forty-five members of the Lok Sabha voted in favour of the bill, while 11 voted against it.
The Bill makes instant triple talaq void and illegal. It seeks to make the practice of instant triple talaq a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to three years.
The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 17, 2018. The Bill will replace the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance-2018, promulgated on September 19, 2018.
Withdrawal of 2017 Bill
Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 is currently listed in the parliament for withdrawal. It was introduced and passed in Lok Sabha on December 28, 2017.
Provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018
Triple Talaq as void and illegal
- The bill says that “any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal.”
- It makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat illegal and void, be it in any form- spoken form, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp or in any other manner whatsoever.
- It defines ‘talaq’ as ‘talaq-e-biddat’ pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce. Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
Declaration of talaq a cognisable and non-bailable offence
It makes declaration of talaq a cognisable and non-bailable offence. A husband declaring talaq can be imprisoned for up to three years along with a fine. The offence will be cognisable only if information relating to the offence is given either by the woman against whom talaq has been declared or by any person related to her by blood or marriage.
Any offence committed under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 will be treated as cognisable and non-bailable.
Powers of magistrate
The magistrate can decide on releasing the husband on bail only after hearing the woman against whom talaq has been pronounced, and only if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
The offence of instant triple talaq “compoundable”, where a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife. It allows a wife to drop the case, if husband returns to her later and they arrive at a compromise.
Allowance and custody
It envisages entitling divorcee Muslim women for maintenance. It gives power to wife, upon whom talaq is pronounced, to approach a magistrate seeking subsistence allowance for herself and her minor children.
A married Muslim woman will be entitled to custody of her minor children in the event of pronouncement of talaq by her husband, which will be determined by the Magistrate.
The Bill will help in ensuring gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women and will help them in practising their fundamental rights of non-discrimination and empowerment.
Supreme Court’s ruling on instant Triple Talaq
- The Supreme Court on August 22, 2017 held the Islamic practice of ‘instant’ triple talaq’ as unconstitutional.
- The verdict was delivered by a 5-judge bench led by the then Chief Justice J S Khehar. All the 5 judges belonged to 5 different religions.
- The verdict came out in a ratio of 3:2, as two judges including the Chief Justice voted to uphold the practice saying that it cannot be declared illegal, while others called it unconstitutional and banned it for a period of 6 months till the government introduced a new law.
- The court also held that the practice of instant triple talaq was violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It also goes against Shariat and the basic tenets of the Quran.
What is the concept of Triple Talaq as per Islamic Law?
Among Muslims, marriage is treated as a social contract and the Muslim Sharia (Islamic Law) provides the ways to terminate marriage in the form talaq. The term ‘talaq’ means ‘freeing or undoing the knot’, referring to a divorce.
Triple talaq is basically a process of Divorce wherein the husband pronounces three talaqs upon wife, one in each menstrual cycle, only to ensure that she is not pregnant.
Reference : https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/lok-sabha-clears-triple-talaq-bill-as-opposition-walks-out-1418630-2018-12-28
Also read : https://www.iasipstnpsc.in/triple-talaq-bill-2017/