What does Triple Talaq Bill hold for Muslim women?

What does Triple Talaq Bill hold for Muslim women?

 Members of Indian Muslim Women Solidarity Forum hold placards during a protest against Triple Talaq Bill (PTI File Photo)

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 will be tabled in Lok Sabha today by the Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad. The bill replaces an Ordinance promulgated on February 21, 2019.

This controversial bill, also known as the Triple Talaq Bill, is projected by the government as a step towards gender equality and justice. While, Opposition parties like  the Congress and DMK have demanded that it should be sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny.

Triple Talaq Bill saw the light of the day in Lok Sabha in the last Budget session when it got a majority but was rejected in Rajya Sabha.  

While the Bill is being re-introduced in Lok Sabha, let us see what it contains:

  • The Bill deals with Talaq-e Biddat, a form of instant and irrevocable divorce given by Muslim men. It is recognised under Muslim Personal Law, where saying the word 'talaq' thrice in one sitting by a man to his wife leads to instant divorce. 
  •  The Bill considers all declaration of triple talaq electronically or in written form as void.
  • The Bill declares triple talaq as a 'cognizable offence' (i.e., a police officer can arrest the accused without a warrant) and will attract three years of imprisonment with fine. The Bill also describes that the offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence will be given by, the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared) or any person related to her by blood or marriage. 
  • The magistrate can grant bail to the accused after hearing the plea of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared) and finding reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  •  The Bill also gives the provision of the settlement of the dispute between both the parties i.e, the one giving the divorce and the woman against whom the divorce is declared. But the terms and conditions of the offence will be determined by the Magistrate.
  •  The Muslim woman, who is the victim of triple talaq, will be liable to get an allowance from her husband for herself and her dependent children. The Magistrate will also determine the allowance that she will receive. 
  • The Magistrate will also determine the manner of custody of the minor children that will be granted to the woman in case she seeks it.