Triple Talaq to be a criminal offence : Key points

New Delhi: The cabinet on Wednesday cleared an ordinance to make the practice of triple talaq a punishable offence, reports said.

“The core component of this Ordinance is that an offence will be cognizable only when the FIR is filed by the victim wife or her close relations by blood or marriage,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

The Supreme Court last year banned the practice. But since the practice was still prevalent, a bill was brought to make it a penal offence.

Triple talaq, or verbal divorce, is practiced by a section in the Muslim community to instantly divorce their wives by uttering ‘talaq’ three times.

Here are the key points about the landmark ruling:

  • The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 has been passed in Lok Sabha but it has been stalled in Rajya Sabha – where the government is in a minority – owing to protests by the opposition.
  • The bill was watered down to win the support of the Congress and other opposition parties.
  • “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 up to three years and a fine. The woman will be entitled to maintenance.
  • In the reworked version, the complaint can be filed only by the woman or her family. The government has addressed concerns that anyone, even neighbours, could file complaints.
  • The woman can also drop charges if her husband is open to a compromise.
  • The possibility of bail has been brought in; a judge can decide whether to grant bail after hearing the wife.
  • The police still can’t grant bail but a magistrate can, after hearing the woman. The non-bailable provision has been retained as a deterrent.
  • 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.
  • The significant changes, long demanded by the opposition, come ahead of the state elections due by December and the 2019 national polls.