NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a fresh bill banning the practice of instant triple talaq ahead of the start the new Parliament session, after the controversial original bill was held back by the opposition.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 replaces an ordinance issued in February after the previous bill lapsed.
The so-called triple talaq Bill was one of the signature legislative initiatives of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, but was stuck in the Rajya Sabha over the opposition’s demand for closer scrutiny by a select committee.
“We will introduce the triple talaq bill in the upcoming parliament session. We are hopeful that it will be passed this time in Rajya Sabha as well. The country is progressing and it will be introduced in this session," information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said.
The bill, to be introduced in the parliamentary session beginning on 17 June, makes it illegal for a Muslim man to divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq" three times and provides for a jail term of three years for violators.
The bill to convert the earlier ordinance, issued in September 2018, was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December and was pending in the Rajya Sabha when parliament was dissolved ahead of general elections.
In order to allay fears over any misuse of the law, the Union cabinet in August 2018 cleared certain amendments allowing an accused to seek bail even though the offence is “non-bailable".
The cabinet also approved the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that says that no individual can be compelled to provide their Aadhaar number—a 12-digit unique identity number—unless provided by the law.
The Cabinet also approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The move is aimed at providing relief for people in J&K living in areas adjoining the International Border. “They can now avail reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in different professional courses," Javadekar added.
Due to continuous cross border tensions, people living along the International Border suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness. Shelling from across the border often compels these residents to move to other places and which impacts their education.
At the same time, the Cabinet also moved to extend President’s Rule in J&K for six months with effect from 3 July.
In yet another decision, the Cabinet approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019 claiming that this will lend momentum to the reform of medical education. The bill will replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) second ordinance 2019 through an act of parliament. The government said the move will ensure transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country.
The Cabinet also approved a two-month extension of the Committee for Sub-categorization within the Other Backward Classes in the Central List. It approved a new Bill, the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 to crack down on unauthorised occupants of public premises.
Aiming to make India a “hub of international arbitration", the Cabinet also approved the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019. Among other decisions, it also approved the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019, wherein 7000 existing vacancies are to be filled up by direct recruitment in teachers cadre. The cabinet also approved the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which aims at making the Dental Council more effective.