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India steps closer to making instant Muslim divorce a punishable offence

20 September, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Lucille Rivera
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If the government fails to do this, the ordinance has to be re-promulgated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its nod to the ordinance making triple divorce an offence after the government failed to pass an amended legislation in Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) due to lack of support from some opposition parties.

However, the amended triple talaq bill provides for additional safeguards, including a provision for bail to an accused before the start of the trial.

Speaking to the media, Union Minister of Law and Justice and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that making triple talaq punishable has nothing to do with religion.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in 2017. "We were the first political party to state that in the modern day changing times, "Instant Triple Talaq" is an unsustainable practice".

October 7, 2016: The Centre opposes the practice of triple talaq in Supreme Court and said there is a need to re-look at these practices on grounds of gender equality and secularism. "Twenty-two Muslim countries have regulated triple talaq by various measures, but in a secular country like India, gender justice was given a complete go-by because of vote bank politics", Prasad said.

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The second amendment makes only the victim (wife) or her blood relations or people who become her relatives by marriage able to lodge the complaint. The woman in question would also be entitled to custody of her minor children, as per Section 6.

In view of the growing Opposition to the proposed legislation, the Centre had even sought the opinion of all state governments on the subject, and, majority had supported it.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 was passed in the Lok Sabha in December a year ago.

The wife would also get the right to withdraw the complaint against her husband if the couple reaches a compromise before the magistrate. Others, like neighbours, can not lodge an FIR to prevent misuse of the proposed law.

Further, the offence has now been made non-compoundable, where a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute. He added that the government is wrong for bringing penal offence into this.

The proposed law also addresses "nikah halala", which requires the divorced woman to marry someone else and consummate the marriage if she wants to remarry her husband. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in December previous year.

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