Triple talaq or instant divorce now a criminal offence

Modi govt using Triple Talaq as political football for 'fake credit seeking': Congress

The Union cabinet cleared an ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence, Law Ministry sources said Wednesday.

The Bill makes instant "triple talaq" a criminal offence and proposes a three-year jail term for a Muslim man who divorces his wife by uttering the word "talaq" thrice in any form of spoken, written or by electronic means such as email, SMS, and WhatsApp.

The Union cabinet has cleared an ordinance to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Wednesday, citing compelling necessity for the move as the practice annulled by the Supreme Court continues unabated.

In August a year ago, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word "talaq", or "divorce" in Arabic, three times.

It is prevalent among India's Muslim community majority of whom follow the Hanafi Islamic school of law. In an Independence Day speech last month Modi said he would "not stop till they get justice", referring to the women.

"Modi government not making this an issue for justice for Muslim women, but making this into a political issue", says Congress leader Randeep Surjewala. The cabinet approval for enacting the law by an executive order comes almost 10 months after the NDA government first moved a bill in Parliament.

He alleged that the ordinance was a tactic of the Narendra Modi government to divert people's attention from the skyrocketing prices of petrol and diesel, devaluation of rupee, lack of jobs for youth, instability in Jammu and Kashmir and the failure of governance.

The Congress-led Opposition has been demanding that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 be sent to a select committee of Parliament for further scrutiny. He accused the Centre of using the triple talaq debate as a "political dootball" for the sake of "fake credit-seeking".

Giving details about the ordinance, the Law Minister said that triple talaq would be recognised as a crime "only when a woman or her blood relative files a complaint with the police".

India has banned Muslim men from instantly divorcing their wives by saying "talaq" three times.

The second amendment allows her to drop the case if the husband comes around later and they arrive at a compromise.

After the Supreme Court verdict, the Modi government made a decision to introduce a bill to criminalise the practice. They should have the right to allowance from the property of their husband to look after themselves and their children.

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