Triple Talaq Bill needed for gender justice: Centre

New Delhi: Moving for consideration and passage, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said that a contentious Bill that advocates three years jail for a husband who goes for Triple Talaq was needed to provide gender justice and equality.

Citing the Supreme Court’s 2017 verdict striking down the illegal practice and asking Parliament to bring a law over the issue, the Minister moved The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 to protect the rights of married Muslim women and to prohibit divorce by pronouncing talaq by their husbands.

Prasad said that women were being divorced by ‘talaq-e-biddat’.

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He said the Supreme Court had noted that 20 Islamic countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia had outlawed Triple Talaq.

And if they could do it, why cannot it be done in India which is a secular country, he asked.

“The Supreme Court has said that Triple Talaq is arbitrary and unconstitutional and asked Parliament to make a law. When we come up with a law, it is opposed. What should our Muslim women do in this situation? 

“The question is what should be done in this situation. Should our Muslim sisters be left (in this situation)?”

He said the Indian Constitution’s core philosophy was gender justice. “The Indian Constitution is equal for all daughters. So the Bill is needed.”

The Minister said that three ordinances had so been promulgated as a similar Bill moved by the previous Modi government could not get parliamentary approval.

A fresh Bill was introduced by the new government in June.

Under the Bill, divorcing through instant Triple Talaq would be illegal, void and attract a jail term of three years for the husband.

Prasad rejected fears that the proposed law could be misused and asserted that certain safeguards had been put in it including provision for bail before trial.

While the Bill makes Triple Talaq a non-bailable offence, an accused can approach a Magistrate before trial to seek bail.

In a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted at the police station.

A provision has been added to allow the Magistrate to grant bail “after hearing the wife”, the Minister said.

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