Lok Sabha Clears Bill Making Triple Talaq Punishable Offence
After intense and long debate for over 3 hours, the Lok Sabha on Thursday, December 27, 2018 passed the “Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, commonly known as Triple Talaq Bill. The motion to adopt the bill was supported by 245 members and opposed by 11 members.
The Lok Sabha had previously passed the Triple Talaq Bill in previous winter session during December 2017. After the Bill got stuck in Rajya Sabha in the monsoon session, the Government brought in an Ordinance in September 2018.
“Talaq” for the purposes of the Bill means “talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instant and irrevocable divorce announced by a Muslim husband“. Clause 3 of the Bill declares pronouncement of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void and illegal. Proclamation of talaq has been made an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years and fine.
Cognizance of the offence can be handled only when the complaint is lodged by the victim wife or her close blood relatives. Also, the offence is listed to be compoundable at the instance of the wife on such terms and conditions as deemed fit by the Magistrate. The offence is bailable, and Magistrate can grant bail, but only when the wife is heard. The Bill provides for grant of custody of the minor child to the wife, and also maintenance suitably determined by the Magistrate.
The present Bill changed some of the controversial provisions in the earlier Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2017. As per the earlier version, the offence was cognizable, which meant that anyone could lodge an FIR in respect of the practice. Also, the offences were non-bailable and non-compoundable.
- That the Bill criminalized a civil wrong.
- Bill was against the spirit of Supreme Court judgments which decriminalized adultery and homosexuality.
- Bill violated Muslim personal law.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said if dowry can be made punishable, triple talaq can also be made so.
Moreover, In August 2017, the Supreme Court had declared the practise of ‘triple talaq’ to be unconstitutional, by 3:2 majority, as it stood in contravention to article 14,15 and 21.
The Bill will become law if cleared by the Rajya Sabha as well.