Draft law moots 3-yr jail term for Triple Talaq

The Centre has prepared a draft legislation enjoining a three-year jail term for Muslim men who resort to instant "Triple Talaq" to divorce their wives.

Months after the Supreme Court declared the practice as illegal, the government has prepared the draft 'Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill' and sent it to state governments for their views.

The practice, called 'Talaq-e-Biddat', has continued though the apex court, in a 3:2 ruling, had termed it unconstitutional.

Under the draft law, Triple Talaq in any form - spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp - would be illegal and void.

"The provision of subsistence allowance and custody has been made to ensure that in case the husband asks the wife to leave the house, she should have some legal protection," sources said.

The government proposes to bring in the bill in the winter session of Parliament.

According to the draft law, which would be applicable to the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir, giving instant Talaq would attract a jail term of three years and a fine. It would be a non-bailable, cognisable offence.

An inter-ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh has prepared the draft law. The other members included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and his junior in the ministry P P Chaudhary.

The proposed law would only be applicable on instant Triple Talaq or 'Talaq-e-Biddat' and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking "subsistence allowance" for herself and minor children. Besides, the woman would be entitled to seek the custody of her minor children from the trial court.

According to sources, there have been 177 reported cases of instant Talaq before the apex court's judgement and 66 after that with Uttar Pradesh topping the list, prompting the government to plan a law. In a big win for Muslim women in their fight for equality, the court had on August 22 set aside the 1,400-year-old practice as being violative of their fundamental rights.

Box

Empowering women
Proposed law to apply only to instant Triple Talaq
Empowers victim to approach magistrate for "subsistence allowance"
Woman would be entitled to seek custody of her minor children

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