Triple Talaq ordinance gets Union Cabinet approval3 min read . Updated: 19 Sep 2018, 10:36 PM IST
The ordinance, which awaits President's approval, includes provision of 3-year jail term for the husband
New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Wednesday described the practice of instant triple talaq as a “constitutional emergency" and approved the instant triple talaq ordinance in an attempt to position the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as furthering its commitment towards women’s rights.
The ordinance, which is yet to get the President’s approval, makes instant triple talaq illegal. It includes the provision of a jail term of three years for the husband. It also includes the amendments made by the government in a cabinet meeting last month that made a provision for the magistrate to grant the husband bail after a hearing with wife.
However, the ordinance could be a yet another flashpoint as the bill is pending in Parliament and opposition parties have questioned the government’s motive for taking the ordinance route as the move comes ahead of the assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana.
Instances of instant triple talaq continued unabated despite the Supreme Court striking it down, said Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after the cabinet meeting.
“There was an overpowering urgency and a compelling necessity to bring the ordinance as the practice continued unabated despite the Supreme Court order last year. Lok Sabha had passed a bill and it is pending in the Rajya Sabha," Prasad said.
“We don’t want to break families," said Prasad.
The minister added that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee should support the instant triple talaq bill in the next session of Parliament for the sake of gender justice, gender equality and gender empowerment.
In August last year, the Supreme Court declared the practice of instant triple talaq unconstitutional and wanted Parliament to bring in legislation governing Muslim marriages and divorce.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December last year and has been pending in the Upper House as opposition parties wanted it to be sent to a select committee for further discussion.
There were 430 incidents of instant triple talaq from January 2017 to 13 September 2018. Of these, 220 were before the Supreme Court judgement.
BJP president Amit Shah welcomed the decision and said on Twitter that the move was a matter of introspection for political parties that had allowed this practice to continue for decades.
Opposition parties have alleged that the government has brought the ordinance to garner votes.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have become habitual offenders of using the issue of ‘instant triple talaq’ as a ‘political football’ for ‘vote garnering’ rather than ensuring the welfare and subsistence of Muslim women. Even today, the Modi government and the law minister have indulged in mere vilification and blame game without releasing the proposed ordinance or listing out the solutions or concerns raised by Muslim women on the subsistence for themselves as also the children born out of the marriage," said the chief spokesperson of the Congress, Randeep Singh Surjewala.
“When the Supreme Court struck down instant triple talaq, we had supported it. The bill is still pending in Parliament as parties have demanded that it be sent to a select committee. Even then the government has brought out an ordinance. Keeping elections in mind, they are undermining Parliament," said senior Communist Party of India leader D. Raja.
The ordinance makes provision for a report to be registered directly by the police if the complaint is filed by the victim or close relatives by blood or marriage. The amendments were made to address some of the concerns raised by opposition parties.
The offence continues to remain non-bailable, attracting three years imprisonment for the husband.