Triple talaq is criminal offence

Triple talaq is criminal offence

News

  1. The Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance that makes talaq-e-biddat, commonly known as instant triple talaq, a criminal offence. The President has given his assent to the ordinance.

Important Facts

2.Marriage is considered a civil contract under Islamic law.

  1. Islamic law prescribes Triple Talaq as the means to end marriage. Instant Triple Talaq is a distorted form of Triple Talaq  which is not mentioned in the Quran.
  2. There were 430 incidents of instant triple talaq from January 2017 to 13 September 2018. Of these, 201 were after the Supreme Court judgment of 2017.

Background

  1. The Supreme Court in August, 2017 declared the practice of instant triple talaq unconstitutional and wanted Parliament to bring in legislation governing Muslim marriages and divorce.
  2. The government introduced The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill to give statutory form to the Supreme Court verdict.
  • The Bill sought to criminalize instant triple talaq and make it a punishable offence.
  1. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha but is pending in the Upper House as opposition parties wanted it to be sent to a select committee for further discussion.

Provisions of the ordinance

  1. The ordinance has incorporated certain safeguards which were not present in the original Bill, to allay fears among Muslim.
  2. Instant Triple Talaq has been made a cognizable offence with a maximum of three years imprisonment and a fine.
  3. The offence has been made non-bailable. Under a non-bailable law, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself. The accused has to approach the magistrate for bail.
  • However under this law the accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail. The move was taken to allay fears among Muslim men.
  1. Police can lodge a First information Report (FIR) only if the complaint is filed by the wife (victim), her blood relations or her relatives by virtue of her marriage.
  • Non-relatives or neighbors cannot lodge a complaint under the proposed law.
  1. The ordinance makes the offence of instant triple talaq “compoundable” which means that the magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife.
  • When categorized as a compoundable case, both parties are allowed to withdraw the case.
  • A compromise can be achieved only when the woman is willing and says so to a magistrate. A magistrate can grant bail only after the wife’s consent.
  • The magistrate will have the power to decide the quantum of compensation and subsistence allowance for the victim and her minor children.
  1. The custody of children from the marriage will go to the woman.
  2. The law doesn’t affect Jammu and Kashmir.

Criticism of the Ordinance

  1. The move would create problems for Muslim women as the ordinance does not provide clarity on issues like property rights.
  2. There is also no clarity on who will pay for the maintenance of the wife once the husband is in jail.
  3. Why taking the ordinance route to enact a law on Triple Talaq is wrong.
  • This is a matter that required deliberation since serious objections were raised to some provisions of the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha.
  • There is also an ongoing debate on the desirability of criminalizing instant triple talaq.
  • There was no such exigency for which government needed to take recourse to the extraordinary power of promulgating an ordinance.
  • Mere lack of consensus in the House is not a good enough reason to promulgate an ordinance. It could even amount to subversion of the parliamentary process. The Bill should have been passed through the normal route. 
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