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Thursday 4 June 2020

Triple talaq: Bill necessary for gender justice, says govt

While the bill makes triple talaq a "non-bailable" offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.

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New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Thursday took up for consideration the contentious bill to make the practice of instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail for the husband. Moving the bill for consideration, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the legislation was a must for gender equality and justice as, despite an August 2017 Supreme Court verdict striking down the practice of instant triple talaq, women are being divorced by ‘talaq-e-biddat’. He said, since January 2017, 574 such cases have been reported by the media.

Ravi Shankar Prasad said three ordinances have so been promulgated as a similar bill moved by the previous government could not get the parliamentary nod. A fresh bill was introduced by the new government in June during the ongoing Parliament session. Under the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Prasad said to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the government has included certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial.

While the bill makes triple talaq a “non-bailable” offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail. In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself. A provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail “after hearing the wife”, the minister said.

At the beginning of the Budget session after coming back to power, the Narendra Modi government presented the triple talaq bill in the house on Friday. The bill passed with 186 votes against 74 votes. Now this bill will be placed in the Rajya Sabha. Here is why the government brought this bill at the beginning of the session. We explain also why it is confident that the legislation will pass this time.

This bill was first introduced by the Modi government in the Lok Sabha during its first term in December 2017. However, the bill was not passed in the Upper House where the BJP and its allies are in a minority.

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