President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance, 2019. The ordinance makes the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence.

The Union Cabinet had given its approval to re-issue the ordinance on Tuesday. The government failed to pass the bill, known as the triple talaq bill, in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session of Parliament.

With the president’s nod, the ordinance will come into force for the third time in less than a year.

“The proposed Ordinance will protect the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands,” the government said in a press release on Tuesday. “It will discourage the practice of triple talaq i.e. talaq-e-biddat. Promulgation of the proposed Ordinance will provide the rights of subsistence allowance, custody of minor children to victims of triple talaq, that is, talaq-e-biddat.”

The Opposition has demanded that the bill be sent to a select joint parliamentary committee before being passed into law. The government, however, has rejected this demand.

The Congress, earlier this month, vowed to scrap the bill if it is elected to power following the Lok Sabha polls, which are expected to be held in April and May. Mahila Congress President Sushmita Dev claimed at the party’s National Minorities Conference in New Delhi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using the bill as a tool to imprison Muslim men and to create an atmosphere of confrontation between Muslim men and women.

The BJP subsequently lashed out at the Congress, accusing it of minority appeasement.

The Centre had first promulgated the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance in September 2018. A bill to replace it was passed in the Lok Sabha in December, but remained pending in the Rajya Sabha. The government promulgated the ordinance again after the Winter Session of Parliament, but could not pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session. The ordinance is set to lapse on June 3, when the current government’s term ends and before the next session of Parliament.