Cabinet approves draft bill banning triple talaq

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday moved a step closer towards making the legislation declaring triple talaq illegal a reality with the Union Cabinet approving the draft law that will now be introduced in Parliament.

The Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill makes the practice of giving instant triple talaq illegal and void, which would also attract a jail term of three years for the husband, official sources said.

The draft was prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by home minister Rajnath Singh. The other members included external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, finance minister Arun Jaitley, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and his junior minister 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.

The government, which has backed Muslim women seeking an end to the practice, hopes to get it passed in the Winter Session of Parliament which began Friday.

The Supreme Court had on August 22 struck down triple talaq, calling the practice unconstitutional and violative of Article 14   of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law.

Under the draft legislation, triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS or 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 legal protection.

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, confirmed that the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill has been approved, but refused to share details as Parliament was in session.

The bill is being introduced as the practice still continues despite the Supreme Court striking down “talaq-e- biddat” (instant triple talaq). According to the draft law, that 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.