The Union minister for Law and Justice and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad had informed the media that the Cabinet today approved an ordinance making triple talaq a punishable offence.
The Minister said that despite the Supreme Court annulling the practice last year, unfortunately it has been continuing unabated. Apparently, the move comes after the Union Government had did not succeed in passing it through both houses of Parliament, it took the ordinance route, which is being perceived as a major triumph for the rights of Muslim women.
Although the bill to criminalise talaq-e-biddat was passed by the Lok Sabha during the winter session of the Parliament, nevertheless, it was held in the Rajya Sabha, thanks to the stiff resistance by the opposition parties who were up in arms about the criminal provisions of the draft law. Subsequent to the burgeoning reservations to the bill, the Union Government had in August this year approved three amendments to the ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’, besides making an amendment that the accused might as well approach a magistrate even before trial seeking bail. Before that, as per the provisions of a non-bailable law, bail will not be granted by police at the police station itself. To address this issue, the Government had made another amendment that dispels the doubt that the police could lodge the FIR only if the victim (wife) approaches the police, her blood relations or the relations of her through her marriage. In terms of the third amendment, it makes the offence of instant triple talaq ‘compoundable’, where a magistrate can execute his powers to settle the row between a husband and his wife. What is more, under the compoundable offence, both parties have the liberty of withdrawing the case.