Triple talaq is criminal offence

India steps closer to making triple talaq a punishable offense

India: Triple talaq or instant divorce now a criminal offence

These amendments were cleared by the Cabinet on August 29. The amended bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha a day later, only to be stalled by vehement protests by Opposition parties. This will now be ratified by the Parliament in the Winter Session later in 2018. Plus, the law will have to be brought back to the Parliament for legislative approval within six months. Several Muslim and women organisations have, over the years, have decried the practice, calling it un-Islamic and anti-women. It charged the Centre with treating Muslim women as a "political football".

The offence is compoundable.

"There was an overpowering urgency and a compelling necessity to bring the ordinance as the practice continued unabated despite the Supreme Court's order previous year", Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters. Also, only the victim, her blood relatives and those related to her by marriage will be able to lodge a complaint.

While instant triple talaq will continue to be a "non-bailable" offence - the police cannot grant bail at the police station - the accused can approach a magistrate for bail even before trial.

"Talaq" for the purposes of the Ordinance means as "talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband".

"It is my serious charge with full sense of responsibility that a distinguished woman leader is the ultimate leader of the Congress, yet such a barbaric, inhuman triple talaq curse was not allowed to be ended by a parliamentary law because of ambiguity and vacillation of the Congress party for pure vote-bank politics", accused Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday.

'How will trials be conducted?'

"We do not agree with the government's decision to make it a criminal offence".

Muslim women say they have been divorced over messaging apps like WhatsApp or in letters, leaving them without any legal remedy.

She added: "The Cabinet passed the ordinance because they knew the Rajya Sabha would not pass it".

Under the ordinance, giving instant triple talaq is illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Does a Hindu man get imprisoned for abandoning his wife?

"When triple talaq has been quashed, the next issue is of providing justice to Muslim women. So it gives the husband an opportunity to behave himself".

Cases of triple talaq are nearly always in the context of domestic violence, said D'Mello, and women typically find it very hard to get the police to file complaints under the law against domestic violence or Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with dowry and cruelty.

Citing details of instant triple talaq cases, Prasad said till now 430 incidents of triple talaq have come to the notice of the government through the media.

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