Instant triple talaq to be a criminal offence now, Centre approves Ordinance

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, on Wednesday approved an ordinance to make instant triple talaq a criminal offence. The executive order comes nearly 10 months after the NDA government moved a bill in the Lok Sabha but has been stalled in the Rajya Sabha.

After the president’s sign-off on the ordinance, “triple talaq” — the practice that allows men to divorce their wives immediately by uttering the word “talaq” thrice — will be punishable with a jail term of up to three years and a fine. The woman will be entitled to maintenance.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a press conference said there had been 201 cases where triple talaq had been used to divorce Muslim women even after the top court’s verdict.

“So there was compelling necessity to come up with an ordinance,” Prasad said.

The move comes after the government had failed to pass it through both houses of Parliament. In view of the growing opposition to the legislation, the government in August approved three amendments to the ‘Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill’.

According to new amendments, the proposed law will remain “non-bailable” and accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail. Bail cannot be granted by police at the police station.

Police would lodge complaint only if approached by the victim (wife), or her family members.

The wife would also get the right to withdraw the complaint against her husband if the couple reaches a compromise before the magistrate.

As for other provisions are concerned, the mother/victim wife will get the custody of the minor child and the mother is entitled to a maintenance suitably determined by the magistrate for herself and the child.

The Supreme Court in August last year declared instant triple talaq illegal and unconstitutional.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi called the ordinance unconstitutional.

“This Ordinance is unconstitutional. The ordinance is against the Constitution’s right to equality as it is being made only for Muslims. All India Muslim Personal Law Board & women organisations should challenge this ordinance in the Supreme Court,” said the Hyderabad MP.