Cabinet approves ordinance to make 'triple talaq' a punishable offence
19 September 2018
The union cabinet today approved a `Triple Talaq’ ordinance making it an offence after an amended draft bill failed to clear Rajya Sabha in the last session of Parliament amid disagreement within parties.
The ordinance, an executive order in lieu of a law, makes instant divorce among Muslims, a procedure called “triple talaq”, a punishable offence.
The triple talaq law, officially called Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, dilutes three contentious provisions.
The first change allows only a woman, or a close relative, to file a police case against her husband for instant triple talaq, the Islamic practice that allows men to divorce their wives immediately by uttering the word "talaq" (divorce) thrice.
The second amendment allows her to drop the case if the husband comes around later and they arrive at a compromise.
Union minister for law Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the decree was necessitated as the practice persisted despite the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court outlawed the practice last year, but left it to the government to prescribe punishment for law breakers. The Modi government wanted to make it a non-bailable offence carrying a jail term of up to three years, following protests by Muslim women.
In August last year, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq”, or “divorce” in Arabic, three times.
The government has been trying to pass legislation to “explicitly ban” the procedure. In an Independence Day speech last month Modi said he would “not stop till they get justice,” referring to the women.