Instant Triple Talaq Bill Criminalised (Download PDF)

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The Indian Parliament has passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 criminalising triple talaq. The Lower House already had passed the bill on July 25,2019 later on the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on 31 July 2019. The bill will become the law after President’s signature thereby replacing the 1986 Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) 1986 allegedly protected the rights of Muslim women who have been divorced by, or have obtained divorce from, their husbands and this bill was supposed to have had diluted the secular judgement of the Supreme Court.

This law was applicable to the whole of India except Jammu & Kashmir being administered by any magistrate of the first class exercising jurisdiction under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

According to 1986 act provision a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to reasonable and fair provision. She would be getting maintenance allowance from her divorced husband which is to be paid within the period of iddah.

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Background and Significance

  • In the Shayara Bano case of 2016, the Supreme Court’s judgment held that the practice of talaq-e-biddat (or triple talaq) unconstitutional.

  • The Muslim protection Bill also known as, Triple Talaq Bill was passed in Lok Sabha based on the Shayara Bano case judgement, followed by extreme criticism about the legal and procedural aspects of the bill.

  • Apart from preventing the divorce by the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable ‘talaq-e-biddat’ the proposed Bill will also be protecting the rights of married Muslim women.

  • The bill promotes the rights of subsistence allowance, custody of minor children to victims of triple talaq i. e. talaq-e-biddat.

Features of the Bill

  • The Bill scraps all declarations of talaq including in written or electronic form, to be void (i. e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.

  • It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.

  • The pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife resulting in an instant and irrevocable divorce is known as Talaq-e-biddat practiced under Muslim personal laws.

  • The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence (arrest without warrant), including up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine.

  • The offence will be cognizable only:

    • If information relating to the offence is given by the married woman against whom talaq has been declared

    • Or any person related to her by blood or marriage.

  • The accused may be granted bail by the Magistrate as per the bill.

  • The bail can only be granted only after hearing the victimised woman and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.

  • The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the victimised woman.

  • Compounding refers to the procedure where the two sides agree to stop legal proceedings, and settle the dispute. The Magistrate will only be the authority for determining the terms and conditions of Compounding.

  • A Muslim woman, against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.

  • The custody of the minor children may be given to the Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared only after her approach for custody. However the manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

Pitfalls of the Bill

  • As per the new bill there is a provision of three-year jail term for a man divorcing his wife through triple talaq.

  • Though most of the Muslim women are happy with the new bill passed but there is a section who is worried about the way the bill has been passed.

  • A majority of the Muslim women believe that the woman will not be protected but instead be vulnerable to more abuse as who will look after their children once the husband is send behind the bars.

  • No additional benefits have been provided to the victimised Muslim women as per the bill in terms of her rights in marriage and divorce.

  • As per the provisions of the new bill passed, the married Muslim men become vulnerable target as policemen can arrest and investigate the accused with or without the complaint from wife or any other person since the Bill says that triple talaq is cognizable and non-bailable.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 22, 2019

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