On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has given its approval to an ordinance making instant triple talaq a criminal offense with a three-year jail term even though bill on the issue is pending in both houses of the Parliament.
Later in the evening, President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the instant triple talaq ordinance which was declared unconstitutional by supreme court last year. With the Presidential assent, triple talaq or instant divorce is now a punishable offense that will attract a jail term.
Giving details about the terms of the ordinance, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law Minister said the core component of the bill is that it is an offense that will be cognizable only when the FIR is filed by the victim wife or her close relations by blood or marriage. Second, the case may be withdrawn if the couple reaches an understanding, but only if the wife approaches the magistrate. Third, the magistrate can grant the accused bail, on fairgrounds, but just after hearing the wife. The wife will be given custody of the child and is entitled to maintenance decided by the magistrate for herself and her children.
The minister also targeted Congress for preventing the bill from becoming law. “It’s my serious charge with a full sense of responsibility that a distinguished woman leader is ultimate leader of the Congress, yet barbaric, inhuman triple talaq was not allowed to be ended by a Parliamentary law for pure vote bank politics.”
The bill makes instant “triple talaq” a criminal offense and suggests a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife by saying the word “talaq” thrice. It has provisions for arrest and fine for anyone entreating it. It also deals with subsistence grant to a Muslim woman and her children from the estranged man as well as custodial rights of minor children.
It covers instant triple talaq delivered in any form delivered orally, including phone or a mobile call or in writing or through the electronic medium like WhatsApp, Skype or SMS — will be illegal.