Cabinet nod for triple talaq bill; Prez Rule in J&K

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and others during the first cabinet meeting, at the Prime Minister’s Office, in South Block, New Delhi, May 31, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a fresh bill to ban the practice of instant triple talaq to replace an Ordinance with an assurance to the Opposition that its concerns on the issue will be addressed.

The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to extend President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir by six months and also gave its nod to replace six other Ordinances promulgated before the Lok Sabha elections with bills.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which made the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) a penal offence, was opposed by Opposition parties. The opposition claimed that jail term for the husband for divorcing his wife was legally untenable.

The Bill had a smooth passage in the previous Lok Sabha but ran into resistance in the Rajya Sabha. Bowing to Opposition pressure, the previous Modi government had introduced some amendments but had still failed to pass muster in the Rajya Sabha.

The amendments include making instant triple talaq compoundable offence, meaning that the case can be withdrawn if the man and his estranged wife reach a compromise and that only the wife and her close relatives can file an FIR, ruling out the law's misuse.

“We have taken note of the issues raised by the Opposition. We hope the Bill will also be approved by the Rajya Sabha,” I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

The Modi government had promulgated ten ordinances after the conclusion of the last session of the previous Lok Sabha in February. The Union Cabinet approved Bills to replace seven Ordinance, including the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, the Aadhar and Other Laws(Amendment) Ordinance, the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Ordinance, The Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance.

On President's Rule in J&K, the Union Cabinet approved its extension for a further period of six months with effect from July 3, 2019.

This is likely to be the last extension of the Central rule in the state as the Election Commission had issued a statement recently stating that elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be announced after the annual Amarnath Yatra that ends on August 15.

The present term of President's rule expires on July 2.

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