Lok Sabha approves law making instant triple talaq a criminal offence

If you have a brother like Narendra Modi you don't need to worry BJP to Muslim women on triple talaq

He said recently: "We have certain suggestions to strengthen it to protect the rights of divorced Muslim women so they live a life of dignity with adequate subsistence allowance".

The punishment includes a jail term of three years and a fine, and this is being cited as a highly problematic aspect of the law, since a civil wrong has been turned into a non-bailable and cognisable criminal offence. It also provides for "subsistence allowance" to Muslim women and custody of minor children as "may be determined by the magistrate".

The only point on which the Opposition showed a semblance of unity was in its demand for sending the Bill to a standing committee for wider consultation.

The bill was passed with most of the leading parties in the Opposition, including the Congress party, voting in favour of the bill, but with caveats.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which has opposed the law, has reportedly said that it will approach the Supreme Court of India (SCI), which, in August held the practice unconstitutional and illegal, though it didn't rule on or suggest criminalising instant triple talaq. "The Congress will support any and every law abolishing instant triple talaq".

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However, the BMMA has struggled for a law for Muslim women for a decade, and the non-cognisable provision, even though problematic, is not an absolute prerequisite, Soman said. While introducing the Bill earlier in the day, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had called it a historic day and stated that the Bill was aimed at ensuring gender justice for Muslim women, while assuring the House that "it was not about religion but about justice and respect for women".

The bill states that the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary. Still others warned of the potential for misuse of the law, saying it could break marriages. According to the bill, instant Triple Talaq if pronounced shall be null and void. Members also pointed out bringing in a legislation was redundant as the Supreme Court, with its majority judgement, has already put in place the law that bans triple talaq. Most opposition parties continue to think that the criminalisation provision needs a rethink, the source added.

The government drafted the Bill after the Supreme Court, in a landmark 3-2 verdict on August 22, set aside the practice of talaq-e-biddat. "With polygamy still in practice, abolition of triple talaq can not alone not help us", Rizwana said to news agency PTI.

But the minority ruling of then Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, while underlining the primacy of Muslim personal law, said the practice enjoyed constitutional protection and was beyond the scope of judicial scrutiny.

Ms. Rizwana and Ms. Razia were of the view that the government should have dealt with the issue of polygamy by banning it in the same Bill.

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