Union Cabinet clears ordinance to ban triple talaq

Union Cabinet has approved the ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence.

Union Cabinet clears ordinance to ban triple talaq

NEW DELHI: In a major victory for thousands of Indian Muslim women, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved an ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence.

According to reports, the Union Cabinet also cleared an executive order in this regard.

Giving more information, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, ''Cabinet has today approved an ordinance on Triple Talaq. The core component of this Ordinance is that an offence will be cognizable only when the FIR is filed by the victim wife or her close relations by blood or marriage.''

''Secondly, it's compoundable, it can be compromised only at the insistence of the wife upon appropriate terms and conditions as determined by the magistrate. Thirdly, a bail can be granted by the magistrate upon reasonable grounds but only after hearing the victim wife also,'' Prasad said.

''As for other provisions are concerned, the mother/victim wife must get the custody of the minor child and the mother is entitled to a maintenance suitably determined by the magistrate for herself and the child,'' the Law Minister said.

The BJP leader also accused the Congress party of blocking the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha. ''It's my serious charge with full sense of responsibility that a distinguished woman leader is ultimate leader of the Congress, yet barbaric inhuman triple talaq was not allowed to be ended by a Parliamentary law for pure vote-bank politics," Prasad said.

The Narendra Modi government decided to bring an ordinance on the issue after it failed to get the triple talaq bill cleared by both the houses of Parliament.

The ordinance, to be brought by the Centre, will have similar provisions as The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha with a voice vote last year.

The triple talaq bill pushed by the Government had met tough resistance from several Opposition lawmakers in the Rajya Sabha.

While opposing the bill, the opposition lawmakers had pressed for sending the bill to a Select Committee for close scrutiny.

In view of the Opposition to the proposed legislation, the Centre had even sought the opinion of all state governments on the subject, and, most of them had supported it.

The bill, earlier approved by the Lok Sabha, makes instant "triple talaq" a criminal offence and proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife by uttering the word "talaq" thrice.

The bill to make talaq-e-biddat void and illegal has provisions for imprisonment and fine for anyone invoking it.

It also deals with subsistence allowance to a Muslim woman and her children from the estranged man as well as custodial rights of minor children. 

The bill terms instant triple talaq delivered in any form - whether delivered orally, including telephone or a mobile call, or in writing or through the electronic medium like WhatsApp or SMS - illegal. 

The Supreme Court had last year declared instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional. 

After the top court ruling, the Centre had formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) comprising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to look into the issue. 

Several Muslim women had approached various courts, arguing that age-old practice of husbands divorcing them through "Triple Talaq", including by Skype and WhatsApp, violated their fundamental rights and rendered them helpless and unwanted in the society.