"Triple talaq" in Lok Sabha: Members of the Lok Sabha are debating the "triple talaq" bill
New Delhi: The revised bill to make instant "triple talaq" a punishable offence has been taken up amid much uproar in the Lok Sabha. The government considered a law on it after 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". The proposed law suggests a three-year jail term for erring husbands. The opposition parties, led by the Congress, are against the criminality clause, arguing that it does not apply for any other religion.
- Uproar started in the Lok Sabha as Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the bill. The opposition demanded that a joint select committee be formed to look into the matter.
- The Congress contended that the government should not interfere in a religious matter.
- The proposed law makes "triple talaq" an offence with a jail term of up to three years and a fine for the husband, and makes the woman entitled to maintenance. It also addresses "nikah halala", a practice under which a divorced woman has to marry another man and consummate the marriage if she wants to remarry her husband.
- The revised bill, drafted after the first version got stalled in Rajya Sabha in January, has retained the criminality clause. 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.
- The government has introduced three amendments, or changes, to stop the misuse of the proposed law.
- Under these, only a woman, or her close relative, can file a police case against her husband. A second amendment allows her to drop the case if the couple reaches a compromise. A third says the magistrate can decide on releasing the husband on bail only after hearing the wife.
- In September, the government made instant "triple talaq" punishable through an ordinance or executive order. The proposed law will replace the ordinance.
- In a landmark 3-2 verdict in August last year, the Supreme Court found the practice of "triple talaq" un-Islamic and "arbitrary", and disagreed that it was an integral part of religious practices.
- Since the winter session of parliament started on December 11, the Lok Sabha has not been able to function properly due to frequent disruptions by opposition members.
- On Friday, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan chaired a meeting of the Rules Committee which discussed a law to punish erring members with disciplinary action. The Speaker, however, said she expected the Lok Sabha to function smoothly for the passage of the "triple talaq" bill.