All you need to know about the Triple Talaq Bill that will be debated in LS today

The Lok Sabha will take up The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 on Thursday for consideration and passing. The Bill is referred to as the Triple Talaq Bill.

The four-hour debate will begin in at 2 pm in the Lok Sabha.  Both Congress and the BJP have issued a whip to its Lok Sabha members to be present in the House on December 27,

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will move the Bill, which aims to ‘protect the rights of married Muslim women and prohibit divorce by pronouncing talaq by their husbands and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration.”

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The whip is a strict instruction to the Members of Parliament from their respective party which necessitates their presence in the House and participate in the voting. Any breach of the whip has serious consequences including disciplinary action against the violators of the whip.

The amended Bill intends to make the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) with the provision of three-year jail for the husband.

The government had tried to get the bill cleared earlier in the budget session as well but did not succeed. In September, the government made instant Triple Talaq punishable through an ordinance or executive order. The proposed law will replace the ordinance.

The revised bill was drafted after the first draft got stalled in Rajya Sabha in January and the opposition members suggested changes. They opposed the criminalisation of Triple Talaq, arguing that it will be a disservice to Muslim women.

The Supreme Court said in August last year that the traditional method of Muslim men instantly divorcing their wives by uttering ‘Talaq’ thrice was ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘arbitrary’.

Here are the main points which of the new amendment:

  • Triple Talaq is the practice of Muslim men getting an instant divorce by saying the word talaq thrice. The proposed law makes triple talaq an offence with a jail term of upto three years and a fine.
  • The government has refused to do away with the jail term for the husband, and the provision that only empowers a magistrate, and not a local police officer, to release him on bail. Three amendments were introduced to stop the misuse of the proposed law.
  • Under the revised bill, the police officer will only file an FIR if the victim herself or her blood relatives complain against the husband.
  • A second amendment allows her to drop the case if the couple reaches a compromise.
  • A third amendment says the magistrate can decide on releasing the husband on bail only after hearing the wife.
  • The proposed law also addresses ‘nikah halala’, which requires the divorced woman to marry someone else and consummate the marriage if she wants to remarry her husband.

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With the Lok Sabha failing to function properly due to disruptions ever since the Winter Session began on December 11, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on last Friday had chaired a meeting of the Rules Committee during which law to punish erring members with disciplinary action was favoured.

In the meeting, while referring to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s comments that his party was ready to discuss the instant Triple Talaq Bill on December 27, the Speaker had said: “I believe that on December 27 the House will function smoothly.”

The instant triple talaq was taken up in the Parliament in August last year after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering “talaq” three times in quick succession.

In the landmark 3-2 verdict, the Apex Court found the practice un-Islamic and ‘arbitrary’, and disagreed that Triple Talaq was an integral part of religious practice.

(With ANI inputs)

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