In view of the lapse of the contentious Triple Talaq Bill, the Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to promulgate an Ordinance on the subject.
The ordinance to be titled The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance 2019 seeks to "protect the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by the practise of instantaneous and irrevocable 'talaq-e-biddat' by the their husbands", as per a release by Press Information Bureau. Promulgation of the proposed Ordinance will provide the rights of subsistence allowance, custody of minor children to victims of triple talaq i.e. talaq-e-biddat, says the press release.
Last December, the Lok Sabha had passed the Triple Talaq Bill [ Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill]. But the Bill got blocked in Rajya Sabha, and its non-clearance even in the Budget Session meant that the Bill has lapsed in view of the imminent dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha.
The Modi Government had initially introduced a Bill in 2017, which was cleared by Lok Sabha in December 2017. It made pronouncement of triple-talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence. But it could not get the nod of the upper house in Monsoon Session of 2018.
Later, the Government introduced an ordinance in September 2018, changing few of the contentious provisions in the first bill. The offence was made non-cognizable and bailable.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.
Even the second Bill attracted severe criticism in the House, primarily on the ground that it criminalised a civil wrong in matrimony. Since triple talaq has already been declared void by the Supreme Court in August 2017, what is need for a legislation to criminalize it, many wondered. Apprehension was also voiced that the Bill could lead to persecution of Muslim minorities.