NEW DELHI: In what is likely to come as a big relief for thousands of Indian Muslim women, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre may soon bring an ordinance to promulgate a bill that criminalises instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat).
The Centre is believed to have decided to take the ordinance route on the issue because the controversial new legislation seeking to criminalise instant triple talaq is yet to get the approval of Rajya Sabha, several months after it was passed by the Lok Sabha with a voice vote.
It has been reported that the Union Cabinet may give its nod to bring an ordinance on Triple Talaq in its next meeting.
The ordinance on the triple talaq will have similar provisions as The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha last year.
The Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, which was cleared in the Lok Sabha, faced a stiff resistance in the Rajya Sabha where several Opposition lawmakers argued that it must be sent to a Select Committee for close scrutiny.
In view of the growing Opposition to the Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Act, the Centre even sought the opinion of all state governments on the subject, and, most of them had supported the new legislation.
The Lok Sabha last year passed the landmark bill that 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 covers instant triple talaq delivered in any form — whether delivered orally, including telephone or a mobile call, or in writing or through electronic medium like Watsapp or SMS — illegal.
The Supreme Court had in a verdict in August declared instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional.
Following this, the Modi government had formed a group of ministers 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.
The Supreme Court had in August this year ruled that the "Triple Talaq" is unconstitutional. Muslim women had petitioned the court, arguing that practice of husbands divorcing them through "Triple Talaq", including by Skype and WhatsApp, not only violated their rights but also left many women destitute.
Even after the Supreme Court declared it illegal, some Muslim men continued with the practice of instant talaq. While there were 177 reported cases of triple talaq before the Supreme Court verdict in August last, 70 such cases instances were reported after the order.