Legal ban on triple talaq
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 passed on 26 July 2019 after a very long discussion and opposition finally got the verdict (the Indian Supreme Court judgement of August 2017 described below) to all women. It made triple talaq illegal in India on 1 August 2019, replacing the triple talaq ordinance promulgated in February 2019. It stipulates that instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) in any form – spoken, written, or by electronic means such as email or SMS – is illegal and void, with up to three years in jail for the husband. Under the new law, an aggrieved woman is entitled to demand maintenance for her dependent children.
The Government first introduced the bill to Parliament in 22 August 2017. MPs from Rashtriya Janata Dal, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Biju Janata Dal, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League opposed the bill. Several Opposition lawmakers called for it to be sent to a select committee for scrutiny. It was passed on 28 December 2017 by the Lok Sabha, or lower house of the Indian Parliament, where the ruling BJP held the majority of seats.
In a major political win for the Modi government, the Rajya Sabha, or upper house of Parliament, where the ruling NDA did not have a majority, approved the bill (99–84) on 30 July 2019 after a lengthy debate.
The bill followed a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that the practice of instant triple talaq is unconstitutional and a divorce pronounced by uttering talaq three times in one sitting is void and illegal.
Muslim triple talaq petitioner Ishrat Jahan welcomed the Bill when it was presented. Also Arif Mohammad Khan welcomed and appreciated the decision taken by Government and Parliament of India.
The triple talaq bill proposed by the previous Modi government lapsed when an election was called and the Lok Sabha was dissolved before the bill was sent to the Rajya Sabha for approval.
Triple talaq”, as it’s known, allows a husband to divorce his wife by repeating the word “talaq” (divorce) three times in any form, including email or text message.
The Supreme Court declared the practice unconstitutional in 2017.
Supporters say the new measure protects Muslim women. Opponents say the punishment is harsh and open to misuse.
Men found in breach of the new law can be jailed for up to three years.
The bill was first tabled in 2017 but stalled in the upper house of parliament, where some MPs called it unfair.
India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supports the bill, while the main opposition Congress party opposes it.
But the BJP doesn’t have a majority in the upper house. On Tuesday, the bill was passed by 99 votes to 84 after a number of walkouts and abstentions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to celebrate the vote as “a victory of gender justice”.
But others accused his Hindu nationalist BJP of targeting Muslims.
Asaduddin Owaisi, an MP from the opposition All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, said the new law was another attack on Muslim identity under the BJP, which has been in power since 2014.