The Central government has drawn up a draft law that makes practising instant triple talaq or talaaq-e-biddat, a “cognizable and non-bailable” offence, which is punishable with three years in jail and a fine, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.
The draft law, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, is likely to be introduced in the Winter Session of the Parliament, various reports said citing sources. The Winter Session will be held from December 15 to January 5.
According to the draft law, a woman who has been given instant triple talaq can move the court and seeks a “subsistence allowance” for herself and dependent children, as well as custody of minor children. The proposed law would apply to instant triple talaq in “oral, written, electronic or any other form”. Any such declaration shall be “illegal and void”, the draft law says.
The Centre has forwarded the draft law to states, and asked them to send their views soon, an official told the daily, adding that the law will not apply to Jammu and Kashmir. The official also reportedly said that the Parliament would have to decide if the law would also have retrospective effect.
A committee of ministers comprising Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, had been formed to fine-tune the legislation.
The government felt the need to bring in a new legislation in the Winter Session because of repeated reports about people practising triple talaq despite the government’s advisories and the Supreme Court ban. On November 13, a woman had alleged that her husband, a professor at the Aligarh Muslim University, told her over WhatsApp that he was divorcing her.
The Supreme Court had on August 22 struck down triple talaq, calling the Islamic practice unconstitutional and in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides for equality before the law.
Triple talaq is a practice by which Muslim men are allowed to instantly divorce their wives by simply pronouncing “talaq”, meaning divorce, three times.