Indian cabinet clears ordinance to make triple talaq penal offence

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If the government fails to do this, the ordinance has to be re-promulgated. It was hinted earlier that the Modi government might take the ordinance route to enact the bill, given they lack a majority in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament.

Hasina Khan of the Bebaaq Collective, which was one of the petitioners in the triple talaq case, severely criticised this move of the government. "It is a pure issue of gender justice, gender dignity and gender equality", he said.

However, the Bill did not see the light of day after opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha expressed reservations regarding some provisions of the Bill. "Congress didn't support us just for the sake of its vote bank politics", Prasad said, addressing a press conference.

May 3, 2017: The Supreme Court allows Congress leader and senior advocate Salman Khurshid as amicus curiae in hearing of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq. Uttar Pradesh recorded the largest number of triple talaq cases, he said, with 126 cases before the apex court's ruling and 120 being reported after it.

"I will again appeal to (Congress leader) Sonia ji that this ordinance has been brought in the interest of the country to bring gender justice". A woman can drop charges if her husband is open to a compromise. A magistrate can grant bail only after the wife's consent.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 had been cleared by the Lok Sabha in December a year ago but it had been stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA does not have a majority.

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While the proposed law makes it a "non-bailable" offence, an accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail.

Muslim men in India who try to break free of their marriage contract by simply repeating the word "Talaq", or divorce, three times, will face jail for up to three years after the government criminalized the practice.

Between January 2018 to August. the Parliament sessions were a washout because of which the Bill was not tabled in Parliament. The Congress-led Opposition, however, had demanded that the Bill should be sent to the Select Committee for further scrutiny.

In its first reaction, the Congress said the amended bill doesn't address their concerns about how a triple talaq victim will be compensated if the husband is jailed. "Our issue is with the criminalisation aspect". Announcing the decision after the cabinet meeting, union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media the practice of triple talaq has continued despite the Supreme Court striking it down.

"There was an overpowering urgency and a compelling necessity to bring the ordinance as the practice continued unabated despite the SC order a year ago", Prasad told a press conference.

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