Today is the last day of the Monsoon Session and the government is hoping the passage of the triple talaq Bill.
India’s battle against the three words that grant Muslim women instant divorce came to an end when the Supreme Court last year declared the age-old practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional. Subsequently, a Bill that makes instant triple talaq a criminal offence was introduced and the Centre hopes for it passage on the last day of Monsoon Session amid voices of concern from the Opposition.
Changes in the triple Talaq Bill
On Thursday, the Cabinet made three amendments to the triple talaq law. While the proposed law will remain "non-bailable'' offence, the accused can approach a magistrate even before the trial to seek bail. Under a non-bailable offence, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station.
Ravi Shakar Prasad said a provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail 'after hearing the wife'. "But the offence of instant triple talaq under the proposed law remains non-bailable," he clarified.
The magistrate would ensure that bail is granted only after the husband agrees to grant compensation to the wife as provided in the bill. The quantum of compensation will be decided by the magistrate, as per the bill.
Another amendment makes it clear that the police would lodge FIR only if approached by the victim (wife), her blood relations or people who become her relatives by virtue of her marriage.
"This would settle fears that even a neighbour can file FIR as is the cases in any cognisable offence. This would check misuse," the minister said.
The third amendment makes the offence of instant triple talaq "compoundable". Now, a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife.
Under a compoundable offence, both parties have the liberty of withdrawing the case.
However, the jail term for a Muslim man who resorts to triple talaq remains three years and only a magistrate, and not a local police officer, can release the accused on bail.
What did the original Bill include?
If a Muslim man resorts to triple talaq then he will face a jail term of three years, as instant triple talaq will now be considered a non-bailable, cognisable offence.
Opting for triple talaq could also attract fine and the amount would be the magistrate’s call who would be hearing the case
A Muslim wife can also approach a magistrate and ask for subsistence allowance for herself and her minor children.
A victim of triple talaq can seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take the final decision on the issue. Only Jammu and Kashmir will be out of the ambit of the proposed law.
While the original bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha last year, it has been stuck in the Upper House where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in minority.
With changes made in the Bill, the government is hoping to get support from non-NDA parties for the passage of the Bill.
When the Bill was introduced in the Winter Session of the Parliament, opposition parties such as the Congress, TMC, CPI(M), CPI, SP, BSP, DMK, AIADMK and BJD, along with the BJP's ally TDP, moved a motion asking the Bill to be sent to a select committee.(With inputs from PTI)