[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Rajya Sabha on July 30, 2019, passed the contentious “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Bill 2019 (commonly known as the Triple TalaqBill)criminalizing instant divorce by a Muslim man uttering Talaqthree times in the presence of his Muslim wife.
A total of 99 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted for the Triple Talaq Bill against a total of 84 MPs who voted against it. The Rajya Sabha by a majority vote also turned down a demand by the opposition parties to refer the Bill to a select committee for scrutiny.
The Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill on July 25, 2019. It will now be sent to the President of India for his assent, and once assent is obtained, the Triple Talaq Bill will become the law.
The “Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage), Bill 2019 (commonly known as Triple TalaqBill) makes the utterance of instant Triple Talaq illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband.
Some key features of the Triple TalaqBill:
- It is applicable in whole of India but it is not extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir
- Any pronouncement of “talaq” by a Muslim husband to his wife in any manner, spoken or written, will be void and illegal.
- Any Muslim husband who communicates the “talaq” orally or in writing may face a punishment up to three years in jail. The punishment may be also extended.
- If a Muslim man pronounces “talaq” to his wife, then the woman and her children are entitled to receive an allowance for subsistence. Such an amount can be determined by a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class.
- A Muslim woman is entitled to the custody of her minor children even if her husband has pronounced “talaq” to her.
- The offence in pronouncing instant triple talaq is cognisable if the Muslim woman on whom it is pronounced communicates the information to a police officer.
- The offence is also compoundable if the Muslim woman insists for the same and the Magistrates allows certain terms and conditions which he may determine.
- A person accused of this offence cannot be granted bail unless an application is filed by the accused after a hearing in the presence of the Muslim woman (on whom talaq is pronounced) is conducted and the Magistrate is satisfied with the reasonable grounds for granting bail.
President Of India Ram Nath Kovind had on February 21, 2019, signed off the ordinance on Triple Talaq. That was a third time when the President had promulgated the Triple Talaq ordinance after it was blocked in the Rajya Sabha by the opposition parties.
The then Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the proposal for the Triple TalaqOrdinance on February 19, 2019.
Earlier, the President promulgated the TripleTalaq Ordinance on September 18, 2018, and thereafter, it was re-promulgated on January 12, 2019. This was the third re-promulgation.
After the formation of the new council of ministers on May 2019 following Lok Sabha elections, the Union Cabinet had approved the Triple TalaqBill for its introduction in Parliament.
The Supreme Court in 2017 by a majority decision 3:2 had declared the practice of instant Triple Talaq unconstitutional.