Lok Sabha Passes Bill Making Triple Talaq Punishable Offence [Read Bill]
After intense debates over three hours, the Lok Sabha today passed the "Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, commonly known as Triple Talaq Bill.
The motion to adopt the Bil was supported by 245 members and opposed by 11 members.
The Lok Sabha had passed the Triple Talaq Bill in last year's winter session during December 2017. After the Bill got blocked in Rajya Sabha in the monsoon session, the Government brought in an Ordinance in September 2018.
The present Bill to replace the ordiance was introduced by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 17, 2018.
"Talaq" for the purposes of the Bill means "talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband". Clause 3 of the Bill declares pronouncement of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void and illegal. Pronouncement of talaq has been made an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years and fine
Cognizance of the offence can be taken only on complaint is lodged by the victim wife or her close blood relatives. Also, the offence will be compoundable at the instance of the wife on such terms and conditions as deemed fit by the Magistrate. The offence is also bailable, and Magistrate can grant bail, but only after hearing the wife. The Bill provides for grant of custody of the minor child to the wife, and also maintenance suitably determined by the Magistrate.
The present Bill changed some of the contentious provisions in the earlier Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2017. As per the earlier version, the offence was cognizable, which meant that anyone could have lodged FIR in respect of the practise. Also, the offences were non-bailable and non-compoundable as per the previous Bill.
Objections of opposition overruled.
The passage of the Bill witnessed intense debates, after resolutions were moved by opposition members against the Bill. N K Premachandran, MP from Revolutionary Socialist Party, moved a resolution stating that the Bill criminalised a civil wrong.
Asadudddin Owaisi, AIMIM MP, moved resolution to drop the criminal provisions in the Bill. He said that Bill was against the spirit of Supreme Court judgments which decriminalized adultery and homosexuality.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the practise of triple talaq was rampant despite the SC declaring it void. About 477 cases were reported last year. Hence, it is necessary to bring in legislation, said the Law Minister. He added that if dowry can be made punishable, triple talaq can also be made so.
The amendments proposed by the opposition members to decriminalise triple talaq were rejected by the majority.
Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Bill violated Muslim personal law. The Congress MPs alleged that Government was politicising the issue, and demanded that the Bill be referred to a joint parliamentary committee. When the demand was turned down, they walked out.
Members of AIADMK and Trinamool Congress too walked out.
The Bill will become law if cleared by the Rajya Sabha as well.
In August 2017, the Supreme Court had declared the practise of 'triple talaq' to be unconstitutional, by 3:2 majority.