Lok Sabha Passes Triple Talaq Bill; Law Minister Says Practice Continued Despite Supreme Court Order

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the contentious bill making instant triple illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband. The bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for signing it into law.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad defended the bill to ban instant triple talaq, saying despite the Supreme Court striking down the practice as illegal and unconstitutional, several hundred cases have been reported.

Replying to the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha, he questioned the opposition to up to three year jail term for the husband who gives instant triple talaq.”When Hindus and Muslims are jailed under dowry law or Domestic Violence Act, no one objects. What is the objection in penalising the practice,” he said.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury opposed the penal provision ahead of the voting on the bill, saying the Supreme Court never asked the government to introduce penal provisions. “Present laws are sufficient,” he said.

The Trinamool Congress walked out of the proceecings ahead of voting, saying it was opposed to the draft law.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 was tabled in Lok Sabha on June 21 by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad amid opposition members have demanded that wider consultations involving the entire spectrum of political parties should take place before its introduction.

The opposition is against the bill in its current form, contending that it would end up victimising Muslims. Even NDA ally Janata Dal-United (JdU) is against the Bill.

While the Bill is expected to have a smooth passage through Lok Sabha as the government has a clear majority there, it is, however, set to face roadblocks in the Upper House where it is still short of the majority.

The Bill, which proposes to make the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) a penal offence, was introduced in December 2017 but was pending in the Rajya Sabha and had lapsed owing to dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month.

The government had promulgated the Ordinance on triple talaq twice — in September 2018 and in January 2019 — as the contentious bill remained pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill makes declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void and illegal. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq as 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.

It makes declaration of such talaq a cognizable offence — where the accused can be arrested without a warrant, and liable to a punishment of three years imprisonment and fine.

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